Skip to main content

Full text of "North Fork coal draft environmental impact statement"

See other formats


BLM LIBRARY 




88065627 















i 






I 1 ! 




■ 

I 




. 




. 
















'i 













DRAFT 

North Fork Coal 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT 

Delta and Gunnison Counties, Colorado 

September 1999 







'W 



Lead Agencies: 

^7 USDI Bureau of Land Management 
0*8 USDA Forest Service 

Cooperating Agency: 

USDI Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement 



?. 



BLDG 50, ST-16QA 

DRMVER FEDERAL CENTER 

P.O. BOX 25047 
DENVER, COLORADO 80225 



The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its 
programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political 
beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status. (Not all prohibited bases apply 
to all programs). Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact 
the USDA Office of Communications at (202) 720-2791. 

To file a complaint, write the Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture 
Washington, D.C. 20250 or call 1-800-245-6340 (voice) or (202) 720-1 127 (TDD). USDA 
is an equal opportunity employer. 



-u&a ^ 00 



860U5to^ 



,r '-.r"' 



NORTH FORK COAL 

DRAFT 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT 



\ l LP 

- 




U.S. Department of the Interior - Bureau of Land Management 
Colorado State Office 
Uncompahgre Field Office 




U.S. Department of Agriculture - Forest Service 

Rocky Mountain Region 

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests 



Cooperating Agency: 



U.S. Department of the Interior 

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 

Western Regional Coordinating Center 



September 1999 





U.S. Department of the Interior 
Bureau of Land Management 
2465 S. Townsend Avenue 
Montrose, Colorado 81401 



U.S. Department of Agriculture 
Forest Service 
2250 Highway 50 
Delta, Colorado 81416 



NORTH FORK COAL 

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT 

SEPTEMBER 3, 1999 



Dear Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Enclosed for your review is the North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 
This document describes the existing environmental conditions and the potential effects 
associated with the leasing of the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts located in Delta 
and Gunnison counties, Colorado. The EIS also describes the environmental effects of 
granting a coal exploration license on an area within and surrounding the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract. 

The U S D I Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service (Forest 
Service) are the joint lead agencies in the preparation of this EIS. The Office of Surface Mining 
Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is a cooperating agency on this EIS. We appreciate the 
comments, suggestions, and ideas received during scoping. 

To aid in the preparation of the Draft EIS, we held a public scoping meeting on Wednesday, 
April 21 1999 in Hotchkiss, Colorado. The healthy debate and many constructive comments 
generated before and during the EIS public scoping period greatly assisted the BLM and the 
Forest Service in identifying issues and preparing the environmental analysis in this Draft EIS. 
We want to thank you for your participation in this project and hope you find the analysis 
responsive to your concerns. 

Some of the key issues for this project include: the potential effects of coal shipping from the 
North Fork Valley on the Union Pacific Railroad; the effects of increased coal truck traffic on 
State Highway 133; the potential effects to the integrity of watersheds and irrigation facilities 
within and surrounding the lease tracts, including the Terror Creek Ditch and the Terror Creek 
Reservoir- the effects to the local social and economic structure in Delta and Gunnison 
counties- and the cumulative effects that coal exploration and mining might have on the region. 



Septembers, 1999 
Page Two 



Besides the No-Action Alternative (Alternative A) and the coal leasing as applied for by Bowie 
Resources Ltd. and Oxbow Mining Inc. (Alternative B), we examined two other alternatives in 
the completion of the Draft EIS. In these other alternatives, we analyzed the possibility of multi- 
seam mining and the restriction of subsidence due to underground mining in key sensitive 



areas. 



mi S I? 3 ! i ' S n0t a deCIS ' 0n document Following public review and comment on the Draft 
bib, the BLM and Forest Service will consider all comments in the preparation of a Final EIS 
Following release of a Final EIS, the BLM and Forest Service will document their decisions on 
coal leasing and the exploration license in documents known as Records of Decisions Your 
comments on this Draft EIS will help the BLM and the Forest Service make the best most 
informed decisions possible. 

Copies of the Draft EIS, and other relevant documents such as the scoping report are available 
for review at the following locations: avaiiaoie 

Bureau of Land Management Forest Service 

Uncompahgre Field Office Paonia Ranger District Office 

2465 S. Townsend Avenue North Rio Grande Avenue 

Montrose, Colorado 81 401 Paonia, Colorado 81 428 

Bureau of Land Management Office of Surface Mining 

Colorado State Office isasRmarfwm/ a.** 4 



ooiorado State Office -| 999 Broadway, Suite 341 

2850 Youngfield Street Denver, Colorado 80202 

Lakewood, Colorado 80215 



Forest Service 
Supervisor's Office 
2250 Highway 50 
Delta, Colorado 81416 

Copies of the Draft EIS have also been placed in the local libraries in Paonia, Hotchkiss Delta 
Montrose, and Grand Junction. 

With the release of the Draft EIS, we again invite your comments, suggestions, and ideas 
regarding the proposed projects. We will take comments on the Draft EIS for 60 days 
Comments must be post marked by November 3, 1999. Please include your name address 
telephone number, organization, title of project on which you are commenting, and specific facts 
and supporting reasons for the decision makers to consider. In addition to comments received 
on the Draft EIS, the BLM will also consider comments on the issues of fair market value and 
maximum economic recovery of the coal tracts. Please address written comments to the 
Bureau of Land Management , Uncompahgre Field Office, 2465 S. Townsend Avenue • 

S r o!o o° i0rad ° 81 4 ° 1 ' Attention Jerry Jones - Written comments may also be faxed to 
(970) 240-5368. 



September3, 1999 
Page Three 



Comments on the Draft EIS, including names and street addresses of respondents, will be 
available for public review at the BLM and Forest Service offices in Montrose and Delta 
respectively, during regular business hours (9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except holidays), and may be published as part of the Final EIS. Individual respondents may 
request confidentiality. If you wish to withhold your name or street address from public review 
or from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this prominently at the 
beginning of your written comment. Such requests will be honored to the extent allowed by law. 
All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves 
as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public 
inspection in their entirety. 

During the review period, the BLM and the Forest Service will host two meetings. The coal 
leasing process requires the BLM to hold a formal public hearing where testimony can be 
presented by the public addressing environmental considerations and the fair market value and 
maximum economic recovery of the coal resource. In an effort to facilitate the public's review 
and comment, a more informal public meeting will be held one week earlier. This meeting will 
be held in an open house format and is intended to help the public understand the organization 
and content of the technical analysis. The informal public meeting will be held October 7, 1999 
and the formal hearing will be held October 14, 1999. Both meetings will be held at the 
Hotchkiss High School and will begin at 7:00 p.m. 

Please retain this Draft EIS for future reference. If the Final EIS for this action is published in 
an abbreviated format, you will need both documents to assess the impacts, both positive and 
negative, of the proposed alternatives. Further information on the North Fork Coal Draft EIS 
can be obtained by contacting Mr. Jerry Jones at the BLM Uncompahgre Field Office, 2465 S. 
Townsend Avenue, Montrose, Colorado 81401, telephone (970) 240-5338, fax (970) 240-5368, 
or e-mail Jerry_Jones@co.blm.gov. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Allan Belt 

Field Office Manager 

BLM Uncompahgre Field Office 



Robert Storch 

Forest Supervisor 

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests 



NORTH FORK COAL 

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT 

AUGUST 1999 

Lead Agencies: Bureau of Land Management 
Forest Service 

Cooperating Agency: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 

Responsible Officials: 

Ms. Ann Morgan, State Director Mr. Robert Storch, Forest Supervisor 

Bureau of Land Management Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison 

2850 Youngfield Street National Forests 

Lakewood, Colorado 80215 2250 Highway 50 

Delta, Colorado 81416 

For Further Information: Mr. Jerry Jones, EIS Coordinator 

Bureau of Land Management 
2465 S. Townsend Avenue 
Montrose, Colorado 81401 

Abstract: The North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) describes the 
physical, biological, social, and economic resources that would be potentially affected by 
leasing of the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts as well as an exploration license area 
within and surrounding the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. The federal decisions to be made 
involve the approval or disapproval of coal leasing (the Iron Point and Elk Creek Tracts), and of 
an exploration license. Some of the key issues for these proposed actions include: the potential 
effects of transporting over 19 million tons of coal per year from the North Fork Valley on the 
Union Pacific Railroad, the effects of increased highway traffic on State Highway 133; the 
potential effects to the integrity of watersheds and irrigation facilities within and surrounding the 
lease tracts, including the Terror Creek Ditch and the Terror Creek Reservoir; the effects to the 
local social and economic structure of Delta and Gunnison Counties, and the cumulative effects 
that coal exploration and mining might have on the region. 

Comment Period: The comment period on the Draft EIS will be 60 days from the date the 
EPA publishes the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register and public notice is given in 
newspapers of local circulation. Comments to the North Fork Coal Draft EIS should be sent 
to the BLM, 2465 S. Townsend Avenue, Montrose, Colorado 81401, Attention Jerry 
Jones, and should be post marked no later than November 3, 1999. 

Important Notice: Reviewers should provide the BLM and the Forest Service with their 
comments during the review period of the Draft EIS. This will enable the BLM and the Forest 
Service to analyze and respond to the comments at one time and to use information acquired in 
the preparation of the Final EIS. Reviewers have an obligation to structure their participation in 
the National Environmental Policy Act process so that it is meaningful and alerts the agency to 
the reviewer's position and contentions, (Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. vs. NRDC 435 
US 519.553 1978). Environmental objections that could have been raised at the draft stage 
may be waived if not raised until after completion of the Final EIS (City of Angoon vs. Hodel 9 th 
Circuit 1966) and (Wisconsin Heritage. Inc. vs. Harris , 490f. Supp. 1334, 1338 e.d. Wis. 1980). 
Comments on the Draft EIS should be specific and should address the adequacy of the 
statement and the merits of the alternatives discussed (40 CFR 1403.3). 



> 










. 


Summary 


■ 





SUMMARY 



S-1.0 INTRODUCTION 



The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Colorado State Office and the USDA Forest Service 
(Forest Service) Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) are joint 
lead agencies considering two lease-by-applications (LBA) for federal coal and a coal 
exploration license in the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley. The west lease tract is 
known as the Iron Point Tract, and BLM has assigned this tract serial number COC-61209. 
This tract covers approximately 3,403 acres of federal coal in Delta County, Colorado. The LBA 
tract to the east is known as the Elk Creek Tract; the BLM has assigned this tract serial number 
COC-61357. This tract covers approximately 3,703 acres of federal coal in both Delta and 
Gunnison counties, Colorado. The coal exploration license application is on unleased lands 
within and adjacent to the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract; the BLM has assigned this exploration 
license area serial number COC-61945. The exploration license area contains approximately 
6,053 acres. 

In January of 1999, as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) public process, the 
BLM and the Forest Service determined that the requirements of NEPA would be best served 
by preparing a consolidated EIS for the two coal lease tracts and the exploration license area. 

As required by NEPA, a scoping process was initiated in March 1 999 to solicit comments from 
the general public, businesses, special interest groups, and government agencies regarding the 
coal leasing and an exploration license. On April 13, 1999, a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS 
was published in the Federal Register by the BLM and the Forest Service. A public scoping 
meeting was held in Hotchkiss, Colorado on Wednesday night, April 21 , 1 999. The formal 
scoping period ended on May 17, 1999. 

S-1.1 Proposed Action 

There are three proposed actions associated with this EIS: 

► Lease the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract on federal lands in Delta County, Colorado, 
for underground coal mining; 

► Lease the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract on federal lands in Delta and Gunnison, 
counties, Colorado, for underground coal mining; and, 

► Issue an exploration license for coal exploration on federal lands in Delta County, 
Colorado. 

S-1.2 Purpose and Need 

With the preparation of the North Fork Coal EIS, the BLM and Forest Service are responding to 
coal lease tract applications submitted by Bowie Resources Ltd. (Bowie) and Oxbow Mining Inc. 
(Oxbow), as well as an exploration license application submitted by Bowie under authority of 43 
CFR 3400. The purpose and objective for Bowie and Oxbow with regard to the Iron Point and 
Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, respectively, are to continue their existing coal mining operations. 

S-1 



Bowie requested the Iron Point Coai Lease Tract in order to maintain reserves to supply 
potential customers and to economically justify the installation of a longwall mining system. The 
federally owned coal deposits in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract are a logical extension to the 
existing operations at the Bowie No. 2 Mine. 

Bowie also filed for the exploration license in order to obtain additional information regarding 
coal resources in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and areas to the north of the tract. Such 
exploration is required to further delineate the extent of the coal resources in this area, as well 
as to obtain coal quality information on the coal. Ark Land Company (an affiliate of Mountain 
Coal Company) elected to participate in this exploration program with Bowie. 

Oxbow applied for the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract as a logical extension to its existing mining. 
Oxbow presently operates with a longwall system for underground mining at its Sanborn Creek 
Mine. 

Both the BLM and the Forest Service maintain policies which allow private industry to explore, 
develop, and mine coal on federal lands. Pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as 
amended by the Federal Coai Leasing Amendments Act of 1976, the BLM administers a coal 
leasing program to allow the private sector to mine federally owned coal reserves. Under the 
terms of this law, the BLM is charged with the administration of the coal mineral estate on 
federal lands and is required to lease coal for economic recovery. Consent by the surface 
management agency (the Forest Service in this case) is required before BLM can proceed with 
leasing. 

S-1.3 Decisions to be Made 

The BLM and the Forest Service are the joint lead agencies responsible for completion of this 
EIS. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is a cooperating 
agency on this EIS. These three agencies are following specific procedures that began with 
scoping and data collection and continued with analysis of data and evaluation of alternatives. 
In accordance with regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1500), the results of this analysis 
are documented in the EIS and will form the basis for decisions to be made on the Iron Point 
and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, as well as the Iron Point Exploration License application. 

After the close of the Draft EIS review and comment period, the BLM and Forest Service will 
consider comments submitted and will respond to those comments in a Final EIS. OSM will 
assist the BLM and Forest Service with comments pertinent to areas of their jurisdiction and 
expertise. The BLM and Forest Service will consider and respond to these comments by: 

► Modifying alternatives; 

► Developing new alternatives; 

► Modifying the analysis; 

► Making corrections; and/or, 

► Explaining why comments do not warrant further agency response. 



S-2 



After the release of a Final EIS, the BLM and Forest Service will issue Records of Decision 
regarding their respective decisions on the leasing applications and exploration license. In 
Records of Decision, the BLM and Forest Service may decide to: 

► Adopt the No-Action Alternative (no leasing and/or exploration license); 

► Adopt the Proposed Actions (lease the coal as applied for by the applicants and/or 
grant the exploration license); 

- Adopt an alternative with features of several of the alternatives; or, 

► Adopt one of the action alternatives with additional mitigation measures. 

The BLM Colorado State Director is the NEPA responsible signatory official for the BLM. The 
Forest Supervisor of the GMUG is the NEPA responsible official for the Forest Service. 

If approved, the leases would be offered by competitive bid. If one or both of the coal leases 
are issued, no mining or surface development could occur on the tracts until the lessee or 
operator submits, and receives approval of a permit application package (PAP) under the 
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. A PAP must be submitted to both the OSM and 
the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology (DMG) for any proposed coal mining and 
reclamation operations on lands within Colorado. 

S-1.4 Issues and Concerns 

Scoping was conducted to focus the EIS on those issues and concerns considered important to 
the public and various government agencies. A Scoping Summary Document was prepared 
and made publically available in July 1999. 

The issues that are addressed in the North Fork Coal Draft EIS are as follows: 

*■ Air Quality: Identify and minimize air quality impacts; 

► Aquatic Resources/Fisheries: Minimize disturbance to fish habitat and fish 
populations; 

► Cultural Resources: Identify cultural resources and minimize disturbance impacts 
to these resources; 

► Cumulative Impacts: Address the cumulative impacts of leasing and exploration 
with other potential projects; 

► Geology/Geotechnical Issues/Subsidence: Identify geologic hazards on the lease 
sites and the potential for subsidence by underground mining activities; 

► Health/Safety: Protect worker health and safety; 

► Land Use: Minimize disturbance; 

► Noise: Identify and minimize noise impacts; 

► Reclamation: Provide for reclamation of disturbed areas; 



S-3 



► Recreation: Minimize disturbance to recreational opportunities; 

- Socioeconomics: Address the social and economic impacts on local residents of 
Delta and Gunnison counties; 

► Surface Water/Groundwater: Identify and minimize impacts to water quality and 
hydrology to maintain the integrity of watersheds within and surrounding the lease 
tract areas. Maintain adequate flows to drainages and ditches above underground 
mining activity; 

► Transportation: Address truck and train traffic impacts created by coal mining in the 
North Fork of the Gunnison Valley and the potential for accidents; 

«- Vegetation: Address the impacts to vegetation as a result of mining and exploration 
activity; 

► Wetlands: Identify and minimize impacts to wetlands/riparian areas; and, 

► Wildlife: Minimize disruption to terrestrial wildlife and wildlife habitats. 

S-2.0 ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED ACTION 

The discussion of alternatives is the foundation of the EIS process. The BLM and Forest 
Service have explored and evaluated numerous ideas and options during the selection and 
development of the alternatives which includes a No-Action Alternative and several Action 
Alternatives including the plans as submitted by the applicants for the exploration license and 
the coal lease tracts. In total, four alternatives (including the No-Action Alternative) were 
developed for evaluation in the EIS. 

Alternatives were developed and analyzed to respond to the purpose for and need of the 
proposed actions, to address social and environmental issues, to respond to public and agency 
concerns and input, and to satisfy NEPA regulations. 

Under the action alternatives considered, the BLM would hold coal lease sales for the Iron Point 
and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, subject to coal lease stipulations of the BLM and the Forest 
Service, as well as any coal lease stipulations developed as part of the EIS process. It should 
be noted that the LBA process is, by law, an open, public, competitive, sealed-bid process 
whereupon the coal lease would be granted to the highest qualified bidder. 

S-2.1 Alternative A - No-Action 

This alternative assumes no leasing would occur and that the exploration license would be 
denied. This alternative presents the existing conditions in the North Fork of the Gunnison 
Valley and would represent a baseline for impact analysis. NEPA requires that a "No-Action" 
alternative be considered in environmental documents. Under the No-Action Alternative, Bowie 
and Oxbow could continue their coal operations under existing regulatory approvals. 



S-4 



S-2.2 Alternative B - Proposed Action 

This alternative was generated based on the original coal lease applications submitted by 
Bowie and Oxbow. 

The proposed action for the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract assumes a northern boundary south of 
the Terror Creek Reservoir, along with an area that would provide access under Terror Creek to 
coal reserves to existing federal coal lease (C-37210) in an area known as the Bowie No. 1 
"pod." There would be no subsidence under the Curecanti-Rifle 23/345 kV electric 
transmission line which essentially is parallel to Terror Creek. Production from the Iron Point 
Coal Lease Tract was assumed to be 5 million tons per year from the D coal seam via longwall 
mining techniques. 

The Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract would also be mined by longwall techniques. The production 
on this tract would range from 4 to 6 million tons per year. 

Alternative B would also involve issuing the exploration license according to the potential 
development scenario as submitted by the applicants. 

S-2.3 Alternative C - Multiple Seam Mining 

This alternative is similar to Alternative B, with the inclusion of additional B seam coal reserves 
in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract, as well as additional surface area and reserves that are 
located between the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. An area was also added to 
the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract in the Terror Creek drainage to facilitate flexibility in locating 
entries beneath Terror Creek for access to coal in the Bowie No. 1 "pod." In Alternative C, 
mining would be completed by longwall techniques, and coal production would be the same as 
outlined in Alternative B. 

S-2.4 Alternative D - Subsidence Protection 

This alternative would be the same as Alternative C, with the limitation that there would be no 
subsidence under Terror or Hubbard creeks, or the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV electric 
transmission line. 

S-2.5 Preferred Alternative 

The responsible agencies have identified a preferred alternative that is best described as a 
combination of Alternatives B and D. Both Alternatives B and D provide for leasing with 
standard special coal lease stipulations, but differ in whether the subsidence would be allowed 
under perennial drainages and whether additional seams and acreage would be included. The 
agencies have decided that protection of perennial drainages would be necessary to maintain 
watershed integrity and ecosystem health. Provisions in Alternative D offer protection for 
perennial drainages by eliminating subsidence in those areas. Coal recovery would range from 
45 million tons identified for Alternative B to 66 million tons identified for Alternative D. 

For the Iron Point Coal Exploration License, the preferred Alternative is B. Alternative B for the 
exploration license would provide standard and special surface use stipulations to reduce 
potential surface impacts. 

S-5 



S-3.0 ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS 

This section of the EIS describes both the existing conditions of and the environmental 
consequences to the area and its resources. Resource descriptions focus on areas which 
would likely be affected by reasonably foreseeable mining and exploration activities. 

S-3.1 Air Quality/Climate 

Existing Conditions - The air quality and climate in the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
Valley are influenced by the rugged topography and the prevailing east-southeast winds. The 
air quality of the region is good. 

The mountain valleys on the west side of the Rockies are subject to large ranges in 
precipitation and temperature conditions. The monthly temperature profiles at Paonia, 
Colorado show a range from an average daily of 24.9° F in January to an average monthly 
value of 72.6° F in July. Precipitation ranges from 0.08 inches in June to 1 .61 inches in 
October, with an average annual precipitation at Paonia of 15.17 inches. The prevailing wind 
direction in the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley near the community of Somerset is 
east-southeast. The daily cycle of changing up-valley and down-valley local wind directions is 
common is western Colorado mountain areas. The strongest winds, presumably associated 
with passing thunder storms and pre-frontal weather are from the south or southwest. 

Environmental Consequences - Due to anticipated increased coal production from the coal 
mines in the North Fork of the Gunnison River area, emissions from mining operations in the 
North Fork Valley and coal trains are expected to increase for the No-Action and Action 
Alternatives; however, any increase in the local emissions of particulate matter and tailpipe 
exhaust is not expected to cause any impacts to the existing ambient air quality of the region. 
In addition, any incremental increases in particulate emissions and gaseous emissions resulting 
from the action alternatives should not cause any observable, detectable or measurable 
visibility impacts at the West Elk Wilderness Area or at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison 
National Monument. 

S-3.2 Topography/Physiography 

Existing Conditions: The topography of the area within and immediately surrounding the 
exploration license area and the coal lease tracts ranges from steep to relatively flat. 
Elevations range from slightly over 5,600 feet in the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley 
near the town of Paonia to elevations over 10,000 feet in the mountains surrounding the 
exploration license and lease tract areas. The topography of the area has been influenced by a 
wide range of mass-movement land forms and processes at work in the region, including 
localized natural landslides and rock falls. 

Environmental Consequences: Exploration activities as proposed for the Iron Point 
Exploration License Area would have no noticeable topographic impact. 

If the tracts are leased, subsequent underground longwall mining would cause subsidence and 
physically lower the surface over mined areas. Effects of subsidence would be most noticeable 
on ridges and steeper slopes, particularly cliffs, where cracks might open on the order of few 
inches to possibly 1-foot wide and 25 to 50 feet deep. Fewer cracks would occur in the valleys 

S-6 



than on ridges, because the valleys are more stable and the alluvial material found in the 
valleys tends to be more yieldable than some of the brittle bedrock found on the ridges. 
Subsidence from longwall mining could aggravate the movement of existing landslides and rock 
fails in areas of moderate to high subsidence potential. 

S-3.3 Geology 

Existing Conditions: The exploration license area and the coal lease tracts lie in the Paonia- 
Somerset coal field which contains medium to high coal development potential deposits. The 
main coal beds within this area are found in the Upper Cretaceous Mesa Verde Formation, 
which is overlain by the Tertiary Wasatch Formation and underlain by the Upper Cretaceous 
Mancos Shale. In addition to the sedimentary units in the region, isolated igneous intrusions 
have been encountered. The coal bearing sedimentary strata of the Mesa Verde Formation are 
relatively flat lying with a regional dip of approximately 5 degrees to the north/northeast. The 
principal mineable coal seams on the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract are the "D" seam and the "B" 
seam. The primary mineable coal seam on the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract is the "D" seam. 
The overburden overlying the D coal seam in both lease tracts is generally greater than 500 
feet and reaches over 2,000 feet in parts of both lease tracts. 

Environmental Consequences: There would be negligible effect to the geological resources 
as a result of drilling activities in the Iron Point Exploration License Area. 

If leasing and mining proceeds on the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, coal would 
be removed by longwall mining techniques, and the overlying overburden material would be 
altered through subsidence. Subsidence would cause a gradual lowering of the surface after 
the longwall shearer removes the coal. Some cracking would be evident as the shearer 
passes, and cracking would be also evident along the fringes of the extracted longwall panels. 
Due to the thickness of the overburden in the two lease tracts, subsidence would not be easily 
evidenced by casual observers. The historic (pre-mining) burning of the coal along the outcrop 
(causing the reddish coloration in the strata in the valley) would preclude a significant amount of 
mining close to the outcrop; therefore, rock falls induced by subsidence would be unlikely. 
There is a potential that mining subsidence could aggravate existing landslides in the Hubbard 
Creek drainage. 

Areas under 500 feet of overburden cover to the coal seam would show "high to very high" 
subsidence potential. The potential subsidence impacts are lessened with the depth of 
overburden. Potential subsidence impacts of "low to very low" are typically those areas greater 
than 1 ,500 feet of overburden depth to the coal seam. 

S-3.4 Soils 

Existing Conditions: A total of 32 soil map units, characterized by 38 soil series, families, or 
miscellaneous groupings, were delineated within and surrounding the lease tracts and 
exploration license area. These soils are forming in response to a wide variety of parent 
materials, elevations, slopes, aspects, and rates of material weathering common to the region 
as a whole. 



S-7 



Environmental Consequences: If exploration occurs, and if leasing and subsequent mining 
activities occur, approximately 33.5 acres of surface disturbance could occur by the 
construction of various boreholes, shafts, light-use access roads, and drill pads. Impacts to 
soils include the salvage and stockpiling of selected soils for later re-application, along with 
potential compaction and erosion. Given the size and form of the individual facilities comprising 
the proposed disturbed acreage, as well as regulatory requirements for revegetation, any 
impacts to soils would be limited and considered to be short-term and mitigable. The 
disturbance of 33.5 acres represents an increase of approximately 10 percent over the acreage 
of soils disturbed by coal operations in the project area to date, and would amount to less than 
1 percent of the acreages included in the lease tracts and exploration area as a whole. 

S-3.5 Surface Water 

Existing Conditions: The North Fork of the Gunnison River is located south of the coal lease 
tracts and exploration license area. Hubbard Creek and Terror Creek drain the Iron Point 
Exploration License Area and the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. Hubbard Creek, Bear Creek, 
and a small portion of Elk Creek drain the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. Hubbard, Terror, Bear 
and Elk creeks are tributaries to the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Hubbard and Terror 
creeks are perennial drainages in the area. Bear and Elk creeks are ephemeral drainages, 
flowing only in response to snow melt or severe thunder storms. The surface water quality of 
Hubbard and Terror creeks and the North Fork of the Gunnison River is calcium bicarbonate 
type water. 

Stream flow in the North Fork of the Gunnison River has been monitored at a US Geological 
Survey station near the community of Somerset since 1 933. The drainage area at the 
Somerset station is 526 square miles. The highest annual mean flow at this station during the 
period of record was 829 cubic feet per second (cfs) in 1984. The highest instantaneous peak 
flow of 9,220 cfs was recorded on May 24, 1984. The lowest annual mean flow for the same 
station and period of record was 1 14 cfs in 1997. 

Various National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits granted to mine 
operators in the North Fork Valley regulate impacts of current and historic mining on local 
streams. Monitoring on the North Fork of the Gunnison River shows little impact to the water 
quality from current or historic mining. Occasional increased concentrations of metals have 
been observed during periods of increased runoff during the spring. Somewhat elevated sulfate 
concentrations have been noted in gulches down-drainage of historic mining operations, but 
these concentrations do not impact the water quality of the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 

Environmental Consequences: Potential environmental consequences of leasing (and 
subsequent mining of) the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts and granting the Iron 
Point Exploration License include the following impacts: 

► Dewatering of the D coal seam couid flow on some sections of Hubbard Creek, 
which are fed from the D seam; 

► Water discharge from mine to surface streams could impact the quality of water in 
the receiving streams; but mines must comply with terms and conditions of National 
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, so quality impacts should 
be minimal. 



S-8 



«• Subsidence caused by longwal! mining could potentially disrupt stream flows and 
ponds directly above the underground mining and within the angle of draw. Other 
impacts could include changes in drainage channel morphology resulting in changes 
in general surface gradients, which could lead to head cutting, pooling, soil erosion, 
and sedimentation; and, 

► Exploration, construction activities, and use of surface facilities could increase 
sedimentation; but any exploration and mining activities must comply with the 
erosion and sediment control standards of the BLM, Forest Service, OSM, and 
Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology, so sedimentation impacts should.be 
minimal. 

S-3.6 Groundwater 

Existing Conditions: The principal groundwater-bearing zones in the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River Basin occur in Quaternary alluvial and colluvial deposits. Some water also 
occurs in Cretaceous bedrock. 

Alluvial deposits along the North Fork of the Gunnison River represent a major aquifer. The 
municipal water supply for the town of Paonia is derived from groundwater wells developed in 
the alluvium along the North Fork of the Gunnison River. The water quality of alluvium 
groundwater is calcium bicarbonate type and good quality. The total dissolved solids (TDS) 
concentrations of the groundwater range from 43 to 2,300 mg/l with concentrations of sulfate, 
TDS, and manganese sometimes exceeding federal drinking water standards. Well yields from 
this zone range from 1 to 150 gpm and average about 20 gpm. 

Colluvial water-bearing units located on valley slopes are generally isolated and are limited in 
extent. These units are normally saturated seasonally and have a low storage capacity and 
yield. Most springs and seeps in the region issue from colluvial deposits underlain by less 
permeable bedrock. Seasonal spring discharge from colluvial deposits range from about 0.2 up 
to 20 gpm, and average about 5 gpm. Colluvial deposits do not represent an aquifer in the 
region, and no reported wells are developed in this zone; however, numerous seasonal springs 
and seeps issue from these zones and have been developed for livestock watering and also 
support wildlife. 

The primary bedrock water-bearing zones in the North Fork of the Gunnison River Basin are in 
the sandstone and conglomerate units and fractured zones of the Lower Cretaceous Burro 
Canyon Formation and the Late Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone. Minor groundwater occurrence 
is reported in the Late Cretaceous Mancos Shale, Mesa Verde Formation, and Tertiary 
Wasatch Formation. Well yields from these formations range from about 0.5 to 25 gpm, with a 
typical average of approximately 1 gpm. Water quality from bedrock wells is generally sodium 
bicarbonate/sulfate type with TDS concentrations ranging from 490 to 8,200 mg/l, averaging 
about 2,569 mg/l. Concentrations of sulfate, TDS, manganese, and fluoride typically exceed 
federal drinking water guidelines. 

Past and current mining activities have affected groundwater quantity and quality in the region. 
For example, mine discharge from the abandoned Oliver Mine and the abandoned Hawk's Nest 
Mine is fair but with somewhat elevated levels of TDS, iron, and manganese. Past and current 
activities other than mining have also affected groundwater quality. Livestock grazing causes 

S-9 



minor impacts to springs and seeps due to erosion, sedimentation, and water quality (i.e., fecal 
coliform). Unauthorized off-road vehicle use also causes erosion and sedimentation that affect 
spring and seep areas. Rural septic systems may impact local groundwater quality. 

Environmental Consequences: Exploration activities should not noticeably impact 
groundwater resources. The strata are not uniformly saturated, so there is little concern for 
inter-strata communication. The drill holes would be small diameter, and have little disturbance 
to the strata. 

Longwall mining of the lease tracts would cause bedrock fracturing and land subsidence above 
longwall panels. By potentially providing pathways for groundwater to move downward toward 
the mine horizon, fracturing and subsidence may divert water from saturated horizons and 
surface water bodies above and adjacent to caved areas. Impacts to groundwater systems 
may result in the decrease in natural discharge rates from springs and seeps or changes in 
water levels and yields in area wells. 

Mining would dewater the coal horizon and water saturated horizons immediately above and 
below the coal horizon. Degradation of water quality could occur when groundwater flows 
through active or abandoned mine workings. Diversion of groundwater resulting from 
dewatering of the coal seam could also occur as a result of underground mining. Water rights 
could be affected if area spring flows and associated pond levels and well water levels are 
diminished. There is also a potential for increased sedimentation to area springs from 
construction and use of surface facilities (exploration drill pads and associated access roads). 

After mining, mine voids could fill with groundwater. The groundwater would be exposed to 
collapsed and abandoned mine workings, and the quality of the water may be impacted. The 
most likely impact would be an increased concentration of TDS, iron, manganese, and possibly 
sulfate. The groundwater flow direction in the coal seams of the lease tracts is to the northeast, 
beneath the Grand Mesa. There are no known wells or springs down gradient of the lease 
tracts that could be affected by any possible groundwater degradation. 

S-3.7 Vegetation 

Existing Conditions: Eight upland vegetation types were mapped at the reconnaissance level 
within and surrounding the coal lease tracts and exploration license area. These vegetation 
types include the following communities: 

► Oak 

► Aspen 

► Pinon/Juniper 

► Douglas fir 

► Cottonwood 

► Spruce/fir 

► Grass/forb 

► Bare 

A number of noxious weed species are known to be of concern in Delta and Gunnison counties. 
These species include Russian knapweed, hoary cress, yellow toadflax, Canada thistle, musk 
thistle, and scotch thistle. 



S-10 



No federally listed threatened or endangered plant species are known to exist on either coal 
lease tract or the exploration license area. A "forest-sensitive" species, Hapman's coolwort, 
could be present at the Hubbard Falls area. 

Environmental Consequences: The construction of various borehole, shaft, and access road 
facilities would directly affect a maximum of approximately 33.5 acres of vegetation. The 
primary vegetation communities to be affected include oak and aspen vegetation types. The 
resulting loss of any timber or grazing resources would be minimal, with the potential for a slight 
long-term increase in grazing potential possible following revegetation activities. It is unlikely 
that any measurable impact to vegetation would occur as a result of mine subsidence. 

S-3.8 Wetlands 

Existing Conditions: No formal delineations of wetlands or other Waters of the U.S. were 
completed on either the coal lease tracts or the exploration license area. Seep and spring 
information was compiled for the coal lease tracts and the exploration area. 

Wetland and riparian plant communities, other than those associated with seeps, springs, and 
stockponds, are typically confined to the borders of creeks and drainage channels. Wetland 
hydrology is provided primarily by channel flooding and lateral flow. Wetland/upland transition 
zones are typically narrow to abrupt as a function of channel topography. Wetland vegetation 
communities are comparatively simplistic in terms of diversity, typically being dominated by a 
few hydric species. The tree stratum, where it occurs, is dominated by narrow-leaf Cottonwood 
and boxelder at lower elevations. Aspen is the common tree of wetlands occurring at higher 
elevations. Dominant wetland shrubs include a variety of willows such as coyote willow and 
diamond willow, thinleaf alder, and red-osier dogwood. 

Springs and seeps in the region typically support willows along with a variety of grasses and 
forbs. Springs and seeps on nearly level to moderate terrain, particularly at higher elevations, 
support herbaceous communities with species as California false-hellebore, streamside 
bluebells, and various sedge species. Stockponds are man-made features which are filled 
either by spring or overland runoff. Wetlands occurring in association with developed 
stockponds are typically limited to a narrow bank fringe, dominated primarily by spikerush and 
rush species. Other species such as small-winged sedge, clustered field sedge, northwest 
cinquefoil, and a variety of butter-cups may also be present. 

Environmental Consequences: Impacts, which would vary by action alternative, are directly 
associated with potential subsidence and possible dewatering in Hubbard and Terror creeks. 

With dewatering of the D coal seam during operations, some wetlands along Hubbard Creek 
could be affected. Depending upon the size of the reduction, the wetland/riparian area 
boundary zones might shrink along the margins of Hubbard Creek. Dominant wetland 
herbaceous species inhabiting this zone and requiring saturated soils throughout the growing 
season would likely be replaced, in part, by wetland or upland plants adapted to less hydric soil 
moisture regimes. Following cessation of underground mining activities, the abandoned 
workings would fill with water and be expected to recover to approximate conditions that existed 
prior to mining. When this occurs, spring and seep conditions would be expected to return to 
Hubbard Creek near the vicinity of the D coal seam subcrop. With the return of seep and 
spring flows, the wetlands of Hubbard Creek near the D coal seam subcrop would essentially 

S-11 



revert to their pre-mining condition in terms of extent and overall function, diversity, and 
productivity. 

S-3.9 Terrestrial Wildlife 

Existing Conditions: The lease tract and exploration license areas occur within Colorado 
Division of Wildlife Game Management Unit 521 . Mule deer, elk, black bear, and mountain lion 
occur within this area. Mule deer and elk populations within the area exhibit seasonal 
movements to and from higher to lower elevation habitats in response to weather patterns and 
snow cover. 

Habitat for water birds is restricted primarily to the North Fork of the Gunnison River, although 
there is some water bird habitat associated with Hubbard Creek, Terror Creek, and Terror 
Creek Reservoir. Use of the area for resting, feeding, or nesting by water birds is limited to 
puddle ducks (such as mallard and teal), spotted sandpiper, and killdeer. 

Several species of raptors are known to occur and nest within the region. These include turkey 
vulture, northern harrier, golden eagle, Cooper's hawk, sharp-skinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, 
prairie falcon, American kestrel, western screech owl, great horned owl, northern pigmy owl, 
long-eared owl, and northern saw-whet owl. Nest site preferences of raptors vary considerably, 
ranging from relatively large trees with open crowns or on cliff ledges and areas of rock outcrop. 
Nesting by a pair of golden eagles has been documented by the Forest Service in upper 
Hubbard Creek Canyon. 

A variety of song bird and similar species reside within the region. The majority of these 
species migrate south or to lower elevations for wintering months, and only a few species 
remain in the region during winter months. Woodpeckers, jays, chickadees, nuthatches, and 
finches are representative year-round residents. 

No identified critical habitat for any state or federally listed threatened or endangered species 
has been identified within or immediately surrounding the coal lease tracts or exploration 
license area. The bald eagle is present as a winter resident along the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River drainage. This drainage and adjacent habitats are designated as a winter 
concentration area and winter range for bald eagles, by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. There 
is also potential for tiger salamander and boreal toad to exist in wetland and riparian habitats, 
particularly along Hubbard Creek. 

Environmental Consequences: The construction of various borehole, shaft, and access road 
facilities would create approximately 33.5 acres of new surface disturbance in currently 
undisturbed areas of vegetation communities and wildlife habitats. The principal wildlife 
habitats to be affected would be oak and aspen habitats. Potential affects to species of 
concern are greatest with loss of aspen, Douglas fir, and cottonwood habitats, but most of 
these impacts can be avoided with the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures. 

Impacts to wetlands and riparian habitat, as well as to potential breeding habitat for boreal toad 
and tiger salamander, would occur if there was construction of a drill site access road along 
Hubbard Creek. However, there is a Forest Service stipulation that precludes road and pad 
construction in riparian areas or wetlands. 



S-12 



Other impacts to terrestrial wildlife might include the surface effects of subsidence (mainly the 
creation of surface cracks), a potential increase in train and vehicle collisions with wintering 
mule deer and elk, and potential changes in bald eagle winter habitat resulting from any flow 
reductions in the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 

S-3.10 Aquatic Resources/Fisheries 

Existing Conditions: The main section of the North Fork of the Gunnison River is classified as 
a Class I cold water aquatic life by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 
This classification is defined as "...waters that (1) currently are capable of sustaining a wide 
variety of cold water biota, including sensitive species, or (2) could sustain such biota but for 
correctable water quality conditions." 

Game fish species present in the river include rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and 
brook trout. Rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout were stocked in the river from 1973 through 
1 995. Other game fish species such as northern pike and green sunfish sporadically occur in 
low numbers in the river; these species likely originate from Paonia Reservoir. 

Hubbard and Terror creeks support limited trout populations. Trout and native fish species also 
occur seasonally in the Terror Creek Reservoir and in irrigation ditches; however, drawdown in 
the Terror Creek Reservoir in the summer restricts year-round habitat for fish. Elk and Bear 
creeks do not contain game fish species. 

Four federally endangered fish species occur in river segments located downstream of the coal 
lease tracts. These include the Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, humpback chub, and 
bonytail. The Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker presently occur in the Gunnison 
River. The occurrence of humpback chub is limited to one known recent record in the 
Gunnison River (1993). No bonytail have been collected in the Gunnison River; this species 
occurs in the Colorado River and is considered to be the rarest of the four Colorado federally 
endangered fish species. 

Environmental Consequences: Short-term, local increases in turbidity and suspended 
sediments could occur during exploration activities adjacent to Hubbard Creek and Terror , 
Creek if access roads are constructed. These short-term increases in sediment yield could 
result in short-term affects on aquatic species and their habitat. Sediment concentrations would 
stabilize and return to typical background concentrations after exploration activities are 
completed. By implementing proper drainage and detention structures, the impact of increased 
sediment levels on aquatic species and their habitat would be low. Any localized increases in 
sediment would not affect downstream areas in the Gunnison and Colorado rivers that are 
inhabited by the four federally endangered fish species. 

The use of water for mining activities, dust control, and domestic purposes would result in a 
relatively small depletion of water from Terror Creek, Hubbard Creek, and the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River. The estimated withdrawal of water would result in total reductions of less than 
1 cfs. This depletion would represent a relatively small reduction in habitat for aquatic species. 
This depletion would be negligible to sections of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers that are 
inhabited by the four federally endangered fish species. 



S-13 



Mining operations on both coal leases could result in increased discharges to the North Fork of 
the Gunnison River. However, since all discharges must meet federal and Colorado 
Department of Public Health and Environment regulations, no adverse affects on aquatic 
species are anticipated due to the quality of discharged water. 

The use and transport of fuels to the exploration sites and mining operations would represent a 
risk to aquatic species and their habitat, if a spill or accident occurred. By implementing a 
mitigation measure that would restrict any fueling of vehicles or equipment near streams, water 
bodies and their associated biological communities would be protected. The risk of a fuel spill 
or leak reaching the North Fork of the Gunnison River, Hubbard Creek, or Terror Creek during 
transport is considered extremely low, based on the expected low frequency of such traffic. 

S-3.11 Cultural Resources 

Existing Conditions: Cultural resource surveys within and surrounding the coal lease tracts 
and exploration license area revealed 1 5 sites. Most of these sites are located near the 
extreme western periphery of the area, generally along the east side of the Terror Creek 
drainage. This distribution apparently reflects previous survey activity in this area, and is not 
necessarily indicative of a similar cultural resource distributional pattern within the unsurveyed 
portions of the area. The sites previously recorded consist of eight isolated prehistoric lithic 
artifacts, three prehistoric open camp sites, two historic corrals, one historic dugout, and one 
historic dump site. 

Historic mining has occurred within and adjacent to the coal lease tracts and exploration license 
area. The historic King Mine site and the associated Bowie town site, have extensive histories 
dating from the turn of the century era. Both the King Mine and the Bowie town site have been 
officially determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but both of these sites 
are outside of the coal lease tracts and exploration license area. 

Environmental Consequences: Cultural site density is low, and no impacts to cultural 
resources are anticipated. Subsidence as a result of longwall mining would not cause any 
discernable impacts to cultural resources on the site. 

S-3.12 Noise 

Existing Conditions: Background noise level measurements at representative locations 
around the project site were taken on April 21 and April 23, 1999. Rural background 
measurements were taken during the daytime and nighttime at two locations on Garvin Mesa 
and at one location next to State Highway 133. Daytime and nighttime background noise 
readings were also taken at several locations in Paonia and Hotchkiss. Some of the monitoring 
stations at Paonia and Hotchkiss were later used to measure noise levels caused by passing 
coal trains. 

In general, the background noise measurements taken at night on Garvin Mesa were 36 dBA, 
with the predominant noises being natural bird sounds. Routine daytime noise levels in the 
urban residential areas were 48 to 56 dBA, with the predominant sounds produced by routine 
local traffic. At the rural site near State Highway 133, the spot check measurements showed 41 
to 49 dBA during brief periods of no discernable traffic and spot noise levels of 64 dBA during 
the brief period while a coal truck drove past. 

S-14 



Environmental Consequences: The mining equipment at the Bowie No. 2 Mine causes little 
direct noise impacts at the nearest homes. However, the mining equipment at Oxbow possibly 
exceeds the state of Colorado noise emission limits, and possibly causes noise impacts at the 
nearest homes in Somerset. 

Issuance, and subsequent mining, of the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would 
increase the number of coal trains passing through Paonia and Hotchkiss as compared to 
existing conditions. Homes next to the tracks with no shielding by adjacent buildings would be 
subjected to noise impacts. However, the increase in coal trains would have only a minor 
impact or no impact on homes more than about one-half block from the tracks with reasonable 
shielding by adjacent buildings. 

Issuance, and subsequent mining, of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract would increase the 
number of coal trucks traveling on State Highway 133 between the Bowie No. 2 Mine and the 
Bowie No. 1 Loadout. Noise from the increased coal trucks would cause a noise impact at 
homes closer than about 200 feet from the highway. 

Exploration drilling in the Iron Point Exploration License Area would also generate noise. Based 
on observations at other mining projects, noise from the drill rigs is expected to be barely 
audible at a distance of 2 to 3 miles during quiet parts of the day. It is unlikely that the noise 
levels at any homes sites would be more than 1 dBA above the daytime background. 

S-3.13 Land Use 

Existing Conditions: Land uses within the region are mining, grazing, agriculture, logging, 
residential development, and dispersed recreation. 

There is a mixture of federal and private lands within the two coal lease tracts and the 
exploration license area, as follows: 

► Forest Service - 59% 

► BLM - 26% 

► Private - 1 5% 

All coal within the two coal lease tracts and the coal exploration license area is federally 
controlled. 

Environmental Consequences: In the long-term, following mining, the area within and 
surrounding the coal lease tracts would be used much as it was before any mining. Any 
surface subsidence caused by underground mining would be minimal and would not affect the 
pre-mining land use. The reclamation and revegetation techniques to be undertaken on any 
disturbed sites are comparatively simplistic, commonly accepted techniques with a history of 
successful application in the western states. 

S-3.14 Transportation 

Existing Conditions: The major transportation route servicing the Paonia-Somerset area is 
State Highway 133. This highway serves local residents and associated commercial traffic for 
the local communities, including the mining operations in the North Fork Valley. State Highway 

S-15 



133 is an asphalt, all-weather, two lane highway, that joins the community of Carbondale with 
the town of Hotchkiss. 

Highway traffic counts are identified as annual average daily traffic (ADT). ADT is defined as 
the measure of traffic over a 24-hour period and is determined by counting the number of 
vehicles passing a specific point in either direction. The Colorado Department of Transportation 
has estimated annual 1 996 ADT values based on actual traffic counts made at various locations 
along State Highway 133. The 1 996 ADT values on State Highway just east of Paonia is 3,150. 
At Somerset, the ADT for State Highway 1 33 was 2,000 in 1 996. 

The mines in the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley are accessed by a railroad spur that 
connects a main Union Pacific Railroad line in Grand Junction, Colorado with the mining 
operations. This spur line is known as the North Fork Branch and is approximately 95.5 miles 
in length. The railroad passes through the communities of Delta, Hotchkiss, Paonia, and 
Somerset. In 1998, 850 coal trains utilized the North Fork Branch. This translates to an 
average of 2.5 trains per day. An estimated 8.6 million tons of coal were shipped in 1998. 

Environmental Consequences: If leased, and subsequent mining occurs on the coal lease 
tracts, and exploration activities occur in the exploration license area, there would be an 
increase in daily traffic on State Highway 133. Similarly, if production expands from the mining 
operations in the North Fork Valley, there would be a resulting increase in daily rail traffic on the 
North Fork Branch. The magnitude of effects associated with traffic related activities would 
depend on the amount of coal produced and sold from the mines. 

If coal production at the Bowie No. 2 Mine is increased from 1 .2 million tons in 1998 to a 
projected 5 million tons in 2000, coal truck ADT on State Highway 133 between the Bowie No. 2 
Mine and the Bowie No. 1 Loadout would increase from 234 to 978, a 400 percent increase. In 
1998, the coal truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine represented approximately 7 percent of 
the traffic on State Highway 133 between the mine and the loadout. If production is increased 
to 5 million tons per year in the year 2000 and beyond, the coal truck traffic would represent 
approximately 21 to 22 percent of the total traffic on that stretch of State Highway 133 between 
the mine and the loadout. Other than coal traffic, general exploration and mine related traffic 
would involve only a very minor increase to ADT levels on State Highway 133 between Paonia 
and Somerset. 

Projections call for coal production to increase from the North Fork Valley coal mines from 1998 
to 2005. This production increase would relate to additional train traffic on the North Fork 
Branch. If production increases to 19.2 million tons in 2005, there would be an average of ten 
trains per day (five loaded and five empty) on the rail line. In 1 998, with 8.6 million tons of coal 
shipped on the Union Pacific Railroad from the North Fork mines, it is estimated the average 
interval between trains was 5 hours and 27 seconds. If coal production increases to 19.2 
million tons in the year 2005, the average interval between trains would be 2 hours and 24 
seconds. 

With the potential increase in daily traffic, particularly the increase in coal truck traffic from the 
Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout, it is reasonable to assume that accidents could 
increase over the life of any mining activities. However, the increase in accidents would 
probably not be directly proportional to the increase in traffic because mitigation measures 



S-16 



would include the trucking company using trained drivers, the adherence of the coal trucks to 
speed limits, and a general public awareness of increased traffic. 

With the potential increase in daily coal train traffic, it is reasonable to assume that, the potential 
for highway vehicles and train accidents at rail crossings could increase. Delays at train 
crossings could also have impact on public safety. Ambulance service, as well as police and 
fire response times, could be delayed five to seven minutes when crossing are blocked. 

S-3.15 Socioeconomics 

Existing Conditions: As of 1998, approximately 26,600 residents live in Delta County and 
12,475 residents live in Gunnison County. Population in both counties is forecast to increase at 
an annual rate of just over 2 percent for the next 20+ years. 

Both Delta and Gunnison counties have experienced substantial job growth in recent years, 
though mining activity is a smaller proportion of the employment base. The mines in the North 
Fork Valley have restructured to achieve substantially greater productivity in a more competitive 
domestic and global market. 

The primary study area is served by two ambulance districts, five fire districts, municipal police, 
and county sheriff services. Municipal water service is available in all incorporated communities 
of Delta County, and municipal sewage/waste water treatment is available in all incorporated 
jurisdictions except Orchard City. Electric service is available in Delta and Gunnison counties 
through Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and its local affiliates: Delta- 
Montrose Electric Association and Gunnison Electric Association. 

Medical services are provided through Delta Hospital, which is a full service, general acute care 
hospital. This hospital has 49 beds, home health care, a staff of 28 doctors, and 198 full-time 
and 89 part-time employees. 

The federal government receives royalties from mining of federal coal. The state of Colorado 
receives tax revenues primarily from federal royalties, sales, severance, and income taxes. 
Local governmental entities receive property, sales, and severance taxes, as well as a share of 
the federal royalties. 

The state of Colorado and local jurisdictions in Delta and Gunnison counties currently receive 
an estimated $1 1 .4 million in combined annual tax revenue related to operation of the Bowie 
No. 2 and Oxbow mines and mine-related employees. Of this amount, 52 percent accrues to 
the state government and 48 percent to the local governments in Delta and Gunnison counties. 

Communities along the North Fork of the Gunnison River have a long history with coal mining 
extending back to the late 1 880s. Over 60 percent of the households in Delta County are 
identified with demographic and lifestyle characteristics of "rustic living." These households 
tend to come from a traditional and/or remain actively involved in making a living from the land, 
including agriculture, mining and construction. Whether or not coal mining is viewed as having 
a positive or negative effect on the quality of life depends on values that receive greatest 
emphasis from different residents of the North Fork region, and in part on resident dependence 
on natural resource related industries. 



S-17 



Environmental Consequences: Socioeconomic effects of the No-Action Alternative would 
occur due to a reduction in coal mine activities within the region. Under the No-Action 
Alternative, mining of reserves at existing mines would continue at current extraction rates until 
reserves are completed. Combined effects of discontinuing operations at the Bowie No. 2 and 
Oxbow mines would represent loss of 383 jobs. Averaging $59,500 in annual salary, the total 
lost payroll would approximate $22.8 million annually. 

For every mine worker in the local study area, an estimated 1 .7 workers are supported by mine 
operations and mine worker household purchases. If both mines were to close, then an 
estimated 650 locally supported non-mine jobs in Delta and Gunnison counties could potentially 
be negatively affected due to the drop in mining activity. Total direct and indirect mine closure 
affects could represent a loss of up to 1 ,033 jobs and over $34.6 million in annual payroll. 

If both mines ceased operations, more than 800 residents (145 of school age) would be directly 
affected. Whether these people would remain in the area would depend on whether people 
chose to relocate elsewhere to find employment or remain in the local study area. Combined, 
these two mine closures could affected nearly 2,380 residents living in the local study area, 
over 410 of them school aged children. 

Under the No-Action Alternative, community and public service providers would be affected by 
a combination of direct and indirect effects. If not offset by alternative sources of revenue, the 
level of service available from existing providers could decline. With cessation of the Bowie and 
Oxbow operations, the state of Colorado and local jurisdictions in Delta and Gunnison counties 
could lose an estimated $1 1 .4 million in combined annual tax revenue. In addition, local 
government would lose a portion of the following estimated annual revenues resulting from 
closures of the Bowie and Oxbow operations: $5.7 million in federal royalties, $2.1 million in 
state severance tax, and $1 .8 million in state sales tax. 

With the implementation of any of the action alternatives (B, C, and/or D), there would be no 
significant changes in mine employment and the socioeconomic effects would be viewed as a 
continuation of existing effects. The action alternatives (B, C, and D) would allow continued 
mining for a period of approximately 5 to 8 years beyond what is expected with the No-Action 
Alternative. It is also conceivable that the life of North Fork mines could be extended further if 
operators successfully secure unmined seams on private lands or added federal leases. 

During any production from the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, state of Colorado 
and local jurisdictions in Delta and Gunnison counties would receive approximately $13.5 
million annually in tax revenues. In addition, mining on the two lease tracts could generate an 
estimated income of $6.7 million in federal royalties, $2.4 million in state severance taxes, and 
$1 .8 million in state sales tax. Taxes could fluctuate year-to-year as the mines acquire new 
equipment, make capital improvements, and as the values of such equipment and 
improvements depreciate. Taxes and royalties would also be influenced by factors such as the 
price of coal, coal markets, and mine employment. 

Tax revenues and royalties would continue for the life of any mining. Upon project closure and 
reclamation, employment would be lost, directly and indirectly affecting the local communities in 
the North Fork Valley. In addition, tax and royalty revenues would cease. Other impacts would 
be similar to those described for the No-Action Alternative. 



S-18 















Table of Contents 








* 



September 1999 Page i 

TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Page No. 



1 .0 PURPOSE AND NEED FOR ACTION 1-1 

1.1 INTRODUCTION 1-1 

1.2 BACKGROUND 1-1 

1.3 PURPOSE AND NEED 1-3 

1.4 PROPOSED ACTIONS 1-5 

1.5 DECISIONS TO BE MADE 1-5 

1 .6 CONFORMANCE WITH LAND USE PLANS 1-7 

1.6.1 BLM Resource Management Plan Consistency 1-7 

1 .6.2 Forest Plan Consistency 1-8 

1.7 PUBLIC AND AGENCY PARTICIPATION AND INVOLVEMENT 1-9 

1.7.1 Agency Meetings and Scoping 1-10 

1.7.2 Public Scoping 1-10 

1.8 ISSUES AND CONCERNS 1-10 

1.8.1 Air Quality 1-1 

1.8.2 Aquatic Resources/Fisheries 1-1 

1 .8.3 Cultural Resources 1-1 

1.8.4 Cumulative Impacts 1-1 

1.8.5 Geology/Geotechnical Issues/Subsidence 1-1 

1.8.6 Health/Safety 1-12 

1.8.7 Land Use 1-12 

1.8.8 Noise 1-12 

1.8.9 Reclamation 1-12 

1.8.10 Recreation 1-12 

1.8.11 Socioeconomics 1-12 

1.8.12 Surface Water and Ground Water 1-13 

1.8.13 Transportation 1-13 

1.8.14 Vegetation 1-13 

1.8.15 Visual Resources/Lighting 1-13 

1.8.16 Wetlands 1-13 

1.8.17 Wildlife 1-13 

1 .9 PAST, PRESENT AND REASONABLY FORESEEABLE CUMULATIVE 
ACTIONS CONSIDERED IN THIS ANALYSIS 1-14 

1.9.1 Bowie No. 1 Coal Mine 1-14 

1 .9.2 Bowie No. 1 Coal Loadout 1-14 

1.9.3 Bowie No. 2 Coal Mine 1-15 

1.9.4 Sanborn Creek Coal Mine 1-15 

1.9.5 Terror Creek Coal Loadout 1-15 

1.9.7 West Elk Coal Mine 1-16 

1.9.8 Electric Transmission Line 1-16 

1.9.9 Highway 133 Upgrade 1-16 

1.9.10 Agriculture 1-16 

1.9.11 Water Storage and Irrigation Canals 1-16 

1.9.12 Logging 1-17 

1.9.13 Railroad Maintenance/Improvements 1-17 

1.9.14 Recreation 1-17 

1.9.15 Housing Development 1-17 



North Fork Coal ua Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






Page ii September 1999 

1.10 AGENCY JURISDICTIONS (PERMITS AND APPROVALS 1-17 

1.11 ISSUES OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF THIS EIS 1-18 

2.0 ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED ACTION 2-1 

2.1 INTRODUCTION 2-1 

2.2 FORMULATION OF ALTERNATIVES 2-1 

2.3 ALTERNATIVE A: NO-ACTION ALTERNATIVE 2-4 

2.3.1 Alternative A: No-Action Alternative - Iron Point Exploration License 2-4 

2.3.2 Alternative A: No-Action Alternative - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract . 2-4 

2.3.3 Alternative A - No-Action Alternative - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 2-7 

2.4 ALTERNATIVE B - PROPOSED ACTIONS 2-10 

2.4.1 Alternative B: Iron Point Exploration License 2-10 

2.4.2 Alternative B - Offer Iron Point Coal Lease Tract as Applied for by 
Applicant 2-11 

2.4.3 Alternative B - Offer Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract as Applied for . . 2-13 

2.5 ALTERNATIVE C - MULTI-SEAM MINING AND ADJUSTED COAL 

LEASE BOUNDARIES 2-15 

2.5.1 Alternative C - Iron Point Exploration License 2-15 

2.5.2 Alternative C - Offer Iron Point Coal Lease Tract for Multi-Seam MiSnldp 

2.5.3 Alternative C - Offer Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract with Revised 
Boundary 2-15 

2.6 ALTERNATIVE D - NO SUBSIDENCE IN SENSITIVE AREAS 2-16 

2.6.1 Alternative D - Iron Point Exploration License 2-16 

2.6.2 Alternative D - Offer Iron Point Coal Lease Tract With Stipulation 

That There be No Subsidence in Sensitive Areas 2-16 

2.6.3 Alternative D - Offer Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract With Stipulation 

That There be No Subsidence in Sensitive Areas 2-16 

2.7 TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS 2-16 

2.8 ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED BUT ELIMINATED FROM DETAILED 
EVALUATION 2-17 

2.8.1 Offer Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts Without Stipulatio@s17 

2.8.2 Room and Pillar Mining (no Longwall Mining) of the Iron Point 

and Eik Creek Coal Lease Tracts 2-17 

2.8.3 Surface Mining of the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts 2-1 8 

2.8.4 Limit the Size of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract to Avoid Coal 
Beneath Terror Creek and Curecanti-Rifle 230/345kV Electric 
Transmission Line 2-18 

2.9 RECLAMATION MEASURES 2-18 

2.9.1 Reclamation Goals and Objectives 2-19 

2.9.2 Reclamation Schedule 2-20 

2.9.3 General Reclamation Practices 2-21 

2.9.4 Reclamation Performance Securities 2-22 

2.10 MANAGEMENT AND MITIGATION 2-23 

2.1 1 MONITORING MEASURES 2-23 

2.12 COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES 2-23 

2.13 PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE 2-23 

3.0 ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS 3-1 

3.1 AIR QUALITY/CLIMATE 3-2 

3.1.1 Introduction 3-2 

3.1.2 Affected Environment and Air Quality Regulations 3-2 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Page Hi 

3.1.2.1 Regional Climate 3-2 

3.1.2.2 Ambient Air Quality Standards 3-3 

3.1.2.3 Regional Air Quality 3-5 

3.1.2.4 Air Permitting Requirements for Industrial Sources 3-5 

3.1 .2.5 Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permitting (Not 
Required for Bowie Resources or Oxbow Mining) 3-6 

3.1.2.6 Federal Emission Standards for Locomotives and 
Non-Road Diesel Engines 3-6 

3.1.3 Environmental Consequences 3-6 

3.1.3.1 Summary 3-6 

3.1.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action 3-7 

3.1.3.3 Effects Common to All Alternatives 3-7 

3.1.3.4 Effects of Alternative B Including Cumulative Impacts ... 3-7 

3.1.3.5 Air Quality Impacts to West Elk Wilderness and Black 
Canyon National Monument 3-21 

3.1.3.6 Effects of Alternatives C and D 3-44 

3.1.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-44 

3.2 TOPOGRAPHY/PHYSIOGRAPHY 3-44 

3.2.1 Introduction 3-44 

3.2.2 Affected Environment 3-46 

3.2.3 Environmental Consequences 3-46 

3.2.3.1 Summary 3-46 

3.2.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-46 

3.2.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 3-47 

3.2.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 3-48 

3.2.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 3-48 

3.2.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 3-48 

3.2.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-48 

3.3 GEOLOGY 3-48 

3.3.1 Introduction 3-49 

3.3.2 Affected Environment 3-49 

3.3.2.1 General Geology 3-49 

3.3.2.2 Geologic Hazards 3-50 

3.3.2.3 Other Geologic Resources 3-51 

3.3.3 Environmental Consequences 3-51 

3.3.3.1 Summary 3-51 

3.3.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-51 

3.3.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 3-52 

3.3.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 3-53 

3.3.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 3-53 

3.3.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 3-53 

3.3.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-53 

3.4 SOILS 3-53 

3.4.1 Introduction 3-53 

3.4.2 Affected Environment 3-54 

3.4.2.1 General Soil Properties 3-54 

3.4.2.2 Soil Salvage and Reclamation Suitability 3-54 

3.4.2.3 Erosion Hazard 3-55 

3.4.3 Environmental Consequences 3-55 

3.4.3.1 Summary 3-55 

3.4.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-56 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page iv September 1999 

3.4.3.3 Direct Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 3-56 

3.4.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 3-57 

3.4.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 3-58 

3.4.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 3-58 

3.4.4 Cumulative Impacts 3-58 

3.4.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-58 

3.5 SURFACE WATER HYDROLOGY 3-58 

3.5.1 Introduction 3-59 

3.5.2 Affected Environment 3-59 

3.5.2.1 Regional Surface Water Hydrology 3-59 

3.5.2.2 Project Area Surface Water Hydrology 3-60 

3.5.2.3 Project Area Surface Water Quality 3-64 

3.5.2.4 Seasonal Trends in Surface Water Quality 3-67 

3.5.2.5 Water Users/Water Rights 3-68 

3.5.2.6 Influence of Past Mining on Surface Water 3-71 

3.5.3 Environmental Consequences 3-71 

3.5.3.1 Summary 3-71 

3.5.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-72 

3.5.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 3-72 

3.5.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 3-78 

3.5.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 3-79 

3.5.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 3-79 

3.5.4 Cumulative Effects 3-79 

3.5.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-80 

3.6 GROUNDWATER 3-81 

3.6.1 Introduction 3-81 

3.6.2 Affected Environment 3-82 

3.6.2.1 Regional Hydrogeology 3-82 

3.6.2.2 Mine Site Hydrogeology 3-83 

3.6.2.3 Groundwater Quality 3-93 

3.6.2.4 Seasonal Trends in Groundwater Quality 3-103 

3.6.2.5 Influence of Past and Current Activities on 

Groundwater Quality 3-103 

3.6.2.6 Groundwater Use 3-104 

3.6.3 Environmental Consequences 3-105 

3.6.3.1 Summary 3-105 

3.6.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-105 

3.6.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 3-106 

3.6.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 3-108 

3.6.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 3-109 

3.6.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 3-109 

3.6.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-110 

3.6.4.1 Iron Point Exploration License Area 3-110 

3.6.4.2 Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 3-110 

3.6.4.3 Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 3-111 

3.7 VEGETATION 3-111 

3.7. 1 Introduction 3-111 

3.7.2 Affected Environment 3-112 

3.7.2.1 Upland Plant Communities 3-112 

3.7.2.2 Noxious Weeds 3-114 

3.7.2.3 Threatened and Endangered Plant Species 3-114 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Page v 

3.7.2.4 Sensitive Plant Species 3-114 

3.7.2.5 Forest Resources 3-117 

3.7.2.6 Range Resources 3-117 

3.7.3 Environmental Consequences 3-117 

3.7.3.1 Summary 3-117 

3.7.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-118 

3.7.3.3 Direct and Indirect Effects Common to All 

Alternatives 3-118 

3.7.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 3-119 

3.7.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 3-119 

3.7.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 3-120 

3.7.4 Cumulative Impacts 3-120 

3.7.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-120 

3.8 WETLANDS 3-120 

3.8.1 Introduction 3-121 

3.8.2 Affected Environment 3-121 

3.8.2.1 Wetlands 3-121 

3.8.2.2 Other Waters of the U. S 3-1 22 

3.8.2.3 Riparian Zones 3-122 

3.8.3 Environmental Consequences 3-123 

3.8.3.1 Summary 3-123 

3.8.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-123 

3.8.3.3 Direct Effects Common to All Alternatives 3-123 

3.8.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 3-124 

3.8.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 3-125 

3.8.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 3-126 

3.8.4 Cumulative Impacts 3-126 

3.8.5 Mitigation and Monitoring 3-126 

3.9 TERRESTRIAL WILDLIFE 3-127 

3.9.1 Introduction 3-127 

3.9.2 Affected Environment 3-128 

3.9.2.1 Habitat Overview 3-128 

3.9.2.2 Big Game 3-129 

3.9.2.3 Furbearers and Predators 3-130 

3.9.2.4 Waterbirds 3-131 

3.9.2.5 Raptors 3-131 

3.9.2.6 Songbirds and Other Avian Species 3-132 

3.9.2.7 Threatened, Endangered, and Other Species of 

Concern 3-132 

3.9.3 Environmental Consequences 3-137 

3.9.3.1 Summary 3-137 

3.9.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-137 

3.9.3.3 Direct and Indirect Effects Common to All 

Alternatives 3-138 

3.9.3.4 Effects of Alternative B . . 3-139 

3.9.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 3-140 

3.9.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 3-140 

3.9.4 Cumulative Impacts 3-140 

3.9.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-140 

3.10 AQUATIC RESOURCES/FISHERIES 3-141 

3.10.1 Introduction 3-141 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page vi September 1999 

3.10.2 Affected Environment 3-141 

3.10.2.1 North Fork of the Gunnison River 3-141 

3.10.2.2 Tributaries 3-143 

3.10.2.3 Gunnison River 3-144 

3.10.2.4 Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species .... 3-145 

3.10.3 Environmental Consequences 3-147 

3.10.3.1 Summary 3-147 

3.10.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-148 

3.10.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 3-149 

3.10.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 3-152 

3.10.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 3-152 

3.10.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 3-152 

3.10.4 Cumulative Effects 3-152 

3.10.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-153 

3.1 1 CULTURAL RESOURCES 3-153 

3.11.1 Introduction 3-153 

3.11.2 Affected Environment 3-154 

3.11.2.1 Cultural Context 3-154 

3.11.2.2 Files Search 3-154 

3.11.2.3 Previous Surveys 3-154 

3.11.2.4 Previously-Recorded Cultural Resources 3-155 

3.1 1 .2.5 Cultural Resource Potential Within Area of Potential 
Effects 3-155 

3.11.3 Environmental Consequences 3-156 

3.11.4 Native American Consultation 3-156 

3.11.5 Management Recommendations 3-156 

3.12 NOISE 3-157 

3.12.1 Introduction 3-157 

3.12.2 Noise Regulations and Guidelines 3-157 

3.12.2.1 Colorado Noise Emission Limits 3-157 

3.12.2.2 Noise Guidelines for Federally-Funded Transit 

Projects (Highways and Railroads) 3-158 

3.12.3 Affected Environment (Background Noise Levels 3-158 

3.12.3.1 Noise Levels at Rural Locations During Train 

Loading 3-159 

3.12.3.2 Noise Levels at Paonia and Hotchkiss Without 

Coal Trains 3-159 

3.12.3.3 Train Noise Levels 3-159 

3.12.4 Environmental Consequences 3-162 

3.12.4.1 Summary of Noise Impacts 3-162 

3.12.4.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action 3-164 

3.12.4.3 Effects of Alternative B 3-169 

3.12.4.4 Effects of Other Action Alternatives 3-178 

3.12.5 Possible Noise Mitigation 3-178 

3.12.5.1 Noise Barriers at Oxbow Coal Loading Station 3-178 

3.12.5.2 Noise Mitigation for Trains Passing Through Towns . . 3-178 

3.12.5.3 Noise Mitigation for Coal Trucks on State 

Highway 133 3-179 

3.13 LAND USE 3-179 

3.13.1 Introduction 3-179 

3.13.2 Affected Environment 3-180 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Page vii 

3.13.2.1 Private and Public Lands 3-180 

3.13.2.2 Past and Present Mining Operations 3-180 

3.13.2.3 Coal Exploration 3-180 

3.13.2.4 Utilities 3-181 

3.13.2.5 Timber Operations 3-181 

3.13.2.6 Oil and Gas 3-181 

3.13.2.7 Agricultural Activities 3-181 

3.13.2.8 Residential Activities 3-182 

3.13.2.9 Recreation 3-182 

3.13.2.10 Roadless Area Review 3-182 

3.13.3 Environmental Consequences 3-182 

3.13.3.1 Summary 3-182 

3.13.3.2 Effects Common to All Alternatives 3-182 

3.13.3.3 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-183 

3.13.3.4 Effects of Alternative B, C and D 3-183 

3.13.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-183 

3.14 TRANSPORTATION 3-183 

3.14.1 Introduction 3-184 

3.14.2 Affected Environment 3-184 

3.14.2.1 Major Transportation Route 3-184 

3.14.2.2 Project Access 3-185 

3.14.2.3 Roads on Lease Tracts and Exploration License 
Areas 3-186 

3.14.2.4 Other Roads in the Region 3-186 

3.14.2.5 Union Pacific Railroad - North Fork Branch 3-186 

3.14.3 Environmental Consequences 3-187 

3.14.3.1 Summary 3-187 

3.14.3.2 Direct Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 3-188 

3.14.3.3 Indirect Effects Common to All Alternatives 3-194 

3.14.3.4 Cumulative Effects Common to All Alternatives 3-194 

3.14.3.5 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 3-194 

3.14.3.6 Effects of Alternative B, C, and D 3-194 

3.14.4 Other Transportation Options 3-195 

3.14.4.1 Issuance of Only One Lease 3-195 

3.14.4.2 Production Limits 3-195 

3.14.4.3 Increase Capacity of Highway Coal Trucks 3-195 

3.14.4.4 New Rail Loadout Adjacent to Bowie No. 2 Mine 3-196 

3.14.4.5 Separate Haul Road 3-196 

3.14.4.6 Conveyor 3-196 

3.14.4.7 Capacity of North Fork Branch 3-197 

3.14.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 3-197 

3.15 SOCIOECONOMICS 3-198 

3.15.1 Introduction 3-198 

3.15.2 Existing Conditions 3-199 

3.15.2.1 Population 3-199 

3.15.2.2 Housing 3-199 

3.15.2.3 Demographic Characteristics 3-199 

3.15.2.4 Employment and Economic Conditions 3-200 

3.15.2.5 Income 3-201 

3.15.2.6 Community and Public Services 3-201 

3.15.2.7 Fiscal Conditions 3-204 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page viii September 1999 

3.15.2.8 Recreation 3-205 

3.15.2.9 Social Values 3-205 

3.15.2.10 Land Ownership and Values 3-206 

3.15.3 Environmental Consequences 3-206 

3.15.3.1 Mine Development Assumptions 3-207 

3.15.3.2 Socioeconomic Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) . . . 3-208 

3.15.3.3 Socioeconomic Effects Common to All Action 
Alternatives 3-210 

3.15.3.4 Differences Amongst Action Alternatives 3-212 

3.15.4 Possible Mitigation and Management 3-212 

3.16 IRREVERSIBLE AND IRRETRIEVABLE COMMITMENT OF RESOURCES 3-21 3 

3.16.1 Irreversible Resource Commitment 3-213 

3.16.2 Irretrievable Resource Commitment 3-214 

3.16.3 Unavoidable Adverse Effects 3-214 

3.16.4 Short-Term Use Versus Long-Term Productivity 3-214 

4.0 CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 4-1 

5.0 LIST OF PREPARERS 5-1 

5.2 BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 5-1 

5.3 U.S. FOREST SERVICE 5-1 

5.4 OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING 5-2 

5.5 S. EDWARDS INC 5-2 

5.6 S. EDWARDS INC. PRIMARY CONSULTANTS 5-2 

6.0 REFERENCES 6-1 

7.0 GLOSSARY 7-1 

8.0 INDEX 8-1 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Page ix 

LIST OF TABLES 

Table No. Title Page No. 

2-1 Materials and Supplies - Bowie No. 2 Mine (at 2 million tpy) 2-6 

2-2 Materials and Supplies - Oxbow Operation (at 4 million tpy) 2-9 

2-3 Materials and Supplies - Bowie No. 2 Mine (at 5 million tpy 2-6 

2-4 Summary of Impacts by Alternative for Each Issue 2-24 

3.1-1 Temperature and Precipitation Data for Paonia, Colorado 3-3 

3.1-2 Ambient Air Quality Standards 3-3 

3.1-3 Ambient PM10 Concentrations at Delta, Colorado 3-5 

3.1-4 Ambient PM10 Emissions From Regional Mines 3-8 

3.1-5 Tailpipe Emissions for No-Action Including Cumulative Impact 3-9 

3.1-6 Tailpipe Emissions for Year 1998 Actual Baseline 3-11 

3.1-7 Permitted Mining Processes at Bowie Resources 3-14 

3.1-8 Permitted Mining Processes at Oxbow Mining 2-15 

3.1-9 Tailpipe Emissions for Proposed Action Including Cumulative Impacts .... 3-16 

3.1-10 Estimated Emissions From Non-Project Vehicles Along State Highway 133 3-18 

3.1-11 Emission Increase for Proposed Action and No-Action 3-19 

3.1-12 Visibility and Acid Deposition Modeling Results 3-25 

3.1-13 Annual ANC Change at South Golden Lake (Action Alt. - No-Action) 3-27 

3.1-14 Annual ANC Change at South Golden Lake (Action Alt. - Year 1998 

Baseline 3-30 

3.1-15 B-ext Increase at Mt. Gunnison (Proposed - No-Action) 3-34 

3.1-16 B-ext Increase at Black Canyon (Action Alternative Minus No-Action) 3-38 

3.1-17 Summary of PLUVUE Results 3-45 

3.4-1 Acreage of Potential Disturbance by Facility Type - Al Alternatives 3-56 

3.5-1 Surface Water Monitoring Summary 3-62 

3.5-2 Selected Surface Water Quality Summary 3-65 

3.5-3 Water Rights Summary for Wells, Springs, and Surface Water 3-69 

3.5-4 Water Rights Impact Summary 3-73 

3.6-1 Spring and Seep Summary - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and 

Exploration License Area 3-85 

3.6-2 Spring, Seep and Pond Summary - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 3-90 

3.6-3 Selected Water Quality Summary - Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes .... 3-94 

3.7-1 Sensitive Plant Species Summary 3-115 

3.7-2 Summary of Forest Service and BLM Grazing Allotments 3-118 

3.9-1 Threatened, Endangered, and Other Species of Concern Potentially 

Occurring in the Study Area 3-133 

3.10-1 Fish Species Occurrence Within the Project Study Area Streams 3-142 

3.10-2 Summary of Aquatic Habitat Conditions at Proposed Exploration 

Drill Sites Near Hubbard Creek 3-144 

3.12-1 Measured Noise Levels at Rural Areas Near Paonia 3-160 

3.12-2 Measured Background Noise Levels at Paonia and Hotchkiss 3-161 

3.12-3 Summary of Noise Impacts Caused by Oxbow Mining 3-162 

3.12-4 Summary of Noise Impacts Caused by Production Increase at 

Bowie Resources 3-163 

3.12-5 Assumed Coal Trains Used for Noise Calculations 3-164 

3.12-6 Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Paonia (No-Action) 3-166 

3.12-7 Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Hotchkiss (No-Action) 3-168 

3.12-8 Noise Impacts of Traffic on State Highway 133 3-169 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Pagex September 1999 

Measured Noise Emissions From Mining Activities 3-171 

Predicted Noise Levels at Mine Site Boundaries and Comparison 

With Colorado Noise Limits 3-172 

Measured 30-Second Noise Levels Caused by Coal Trains 3-173 

Calculated L-dn Train Noise a Paonia (Action Alternatives) 3-174 

Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Hotchkiss (Action Alternatives) 3-176 

Action Alternatives vs. No-Action Coal Train Impacts in Paonia 

and Hotchkiss 3-177 

Annual Average Daily Traffic - State Highways 92 and 133 3-185 

Coal Production From North Fork Valley Coal Mines 3-187 

Coal Truck Traffic for 28-Ton and 45-Ton Truck Capacities 3-189 

Traffic Frequency Estimates on State Highway 133 East of Paonia 3-190 

Unit Train Traffic Frequency on North Fork Branch 3-192 

Total Projected Mine Life 3-207 



3.12-9 


3.12-10 


3.12-11 


3.12-12 


3.12-13 


3.12-14 


3.14-1 


3.14-2 


3.14-3 


3.14-4 


3.14-5 


3.15-1 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






September 1999 Page xi 

LIST OF FIGURES 
(See EIS "Figure Volume") 

Figure No. Title 

1 General Location Map 

2 Surface Ownership Map 

3 Historic Coal Mines and Federal Coal Lease Locations 

4 Iron Point Exploration Plan 

5 Alternative B 

6 Alternative C 

7 Alternative D 

8 Wind Rose for West Elk Mine 

9 Emission Sources and Wilderness Area Receptors for Visibility 
and Acid Deposition Modeling 

10 Emission Sources and Viewer for PLUVUE Modeling 

1 1 Geologic Hazards Map 

12 Typical Geologic Cross Section 

13 D Seam Overburden Isopach 

14 Subsidence Potential Map 

15 Soils Map 

16 Regional Hydrology Map 

17 Regional Stream Network 

18 Water Rights 

19 Groundwater Hydrology 

20 Conceptual Hydrogeologic Cross Section A-A' 

21 Vegetation Map 

22 Mule Deer Range 

23 Elk Range 

24 Bald Eagle Range 

25 Noise Levels Caused by Typical Activities 

26 Federal Transit Administration Noise Impact Criteria for Highway 
Traffic and Railroad Projects 

27 Train Noise at Paonia (4/21/99) 

28 Train Noise at Paonia (4/25/99) 

29 Train Noise at Hotchkiss (4/21/99 and 4/25/99) 

30 Noise Impact Descriptors Using Federal Transit Administration Criteria 

31 Rail and road Systems 

32 Coal Truck Traffic vs. Coal Tonnage Shipped 

33 Average Daily Coal Train Traffic for North Fork Branch (Empty and Loaded) 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page xii 


September 


1999 




LIST OF APPENDIX FIGURES 






(See EIS "Figure Volume") 




Fiqure No. 


Title 




C/D-1 


Coal Unsuitability Criteria Locations 




F-1 


Conceptual Room and Pillar Mining 




F-2 


Conceptual Longwall Mining 




F-3 


Typical Longwall Panel Layout in the United States 




F-4 


Conceptual Representation of Subsidence Deformation Zones 




F-5 


Example of Subsidence Strain Profiles 




K-1 


Typical Subsidence Profile for Longwall Mining 




K-2 


Typical Longwall Subsidence Cross Section 




K-3 


Maximum Vertical Displacement for Longwall 




K-4 


Tilt and Strain 




L-1 


Socioeconomic Study Areas 




L-2 


Net Migration Trends (1981-1998) 




L-3 


Population Forecast (1995-2020) 




L-4 


Changes in Household Size (1990-1998) 




L-5 


Ethnic Background of Study Area Populations (1997) 




L-6 


Change in Ethnic Background of Study Area Populations (1990-1997) 




L-7 


Population Age Characteristics (1997) 




L-8 


Changes in Population Age Characteristics (1990-1997) 




L-9 


Labor Force Participation Rate (1997) 




L-10 


Unemployment Rate Trends 




L-1 1 


Total Employment Trends (Part and Full-Time Employees) 




L-1 2 


Delta County Employment Growth and Population Migration Trends 




L-1 3 


Coal Production Trends (1000s Short Tons) 




L-1 4 


Coal Mining Productivity Trends in Delta & Gunnison Counties (1000s Short 
Tons) 




L-1 5 


Distribution of Colorado Coal Sales (1997) 




L-1 6 


Average Mine Price of Colorado Coal 




L-1 7 


Total Personal income Per Capita (Inflation Adjusted) 




L-1 8 


Sources of Personal Income 




L-1 9 


Net State and Local Revenue Collections 




L-20 


Major Source of Colorado State Tax Collections (1998) 




L-21 


State Income Tax Collections (1989-1998) 




L-22 


Retail Sales Trends (1993-1998) 




L-23 


1998 Delta County Property Taxes 




L-24 


State Coal Severance Tax Trends (1989-1998) 




L-25 


Delta County Assessed Values (1998) 




North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Page xiii 

LIST OF APPENDICES 

Appendix Title 

A Lease Tract Information 

B Agency Jurisdictions (Permits and Approvals) 

C Unsuitability Analysis Report - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (COC-61209) 

D Unsuitability Analysis Report - Elk Creek Tract (COC-61 385) 

E Mining Economics 

F Overview of Underground Coal Mining 

G Historical Coal Mining Activity 

H Standard BLM Coal Lease Terms, Conditions and Stipulations 

I Forest Service Stipulations - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 

J Forest Service Stipulations - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 

K Subsidence Evaluation 

L Socioeconomic Report 



North Fork Coal Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Purpose and Need for Action 



September 1999 Chapter 1 Page 1-1 

1.0 PURPOSE AND NEED FOR ACTION 

1.1 INTRODUCTION 

This Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) considers three proposed actions involving federal 
coal lands, and is a joint document between the United States Department of the Interior 
(USDI), Colorado State Office, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States 
Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison 
National Forests (GMUG). The USDI, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 
(OSM), Western Regional Coordinating Center is participating as a cooperating agency. The 
three actions include two lease-by-applications (LBA), and a request for an exploration license 
which were filed with the BLM under provisions found in 43 CFR 3400. 

The locations of the two LBA tracts and the exploration license area are shown in Figure 1, 
General Location Map. The lands involved encompass BLM lands in the Uncompahgre Basin 
Resource Area, and National Forest System Lands administered by the GMUG. The west tract 
is known as the Iron Point Tract. The BLM assigned this tract serial number COC-61 209. The 
LBA tract to the east is known as the Elk Creek Tract and was assigned serial number COC- 
61 357. The exploration area is within and north of the Iron Point Coal Lease tract and was 
assigned serial number COC-61 945. 

This EIS documents the environmental analysis of the proposed decisions regarding the 
possible offering of the two federal coal lease tracts and the approval or denial of an exploration 
license in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EIS process 
provides a forum for public review and comment on the two LBA tracts and the exploration 
license area, with their associated relevant issues and the environmental analysis. This 
document has been assembled to disclose the potential impacts and to provide the decision- 
makers with information needed to make decisions that are fully informed and relevant to the 
specifics of the LBA and exploration license submittals. This EIS also documents the process 
used to analyze the submittals and alternatives to the requests, the environmental impacts, and 
possible mitigation measures to be included as stipulations in the event the leases are issued 
and the exploration license is approved. 

1.2 BACKGROUND 

Coal was originally discovered along the North Fork of the Gunnison River in the late 1880's, 
and underground coal mining has occurred subsequently in this area for the past 100 years. 
Bowie Resources Ltd. (Bowie), Oxbow Mining Inc. (Oxbow) and Mountain Coal Company 
(Mountain Coal) currently operate underground coal mines in this area. 

In August of 1997, Bowie filed a coal lease application with the BLM for a tract designated as 
the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (COC-61 209). This tract covers approximately 3,403 acres of 
federal coal in Delta County, Colorado, and is shown on Figure 1, General Location Map. The 
Iron Point Tract contains a mixture of federal (BLM and Forest Service) and private surface 
ownership. See Figure 2, Surface Ownership Map. Details regarding the Iron Point Tract are 
set forth in Appendix A, Lease Tract Information. This appendix contains the legal description 
and estimated reserves of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 1-2 Purpose and Need for Action September 1999 

In November of 1997, Oxbow filed a lease application with the BLM for approximately 3,703 
acres of federal coal in Delta and Gunnison counties, Colorado. This tract was designated the 
Elk Creek Tract (COC-61357) by the BLM. Oxbow's lease application was amended by the 
BLM, during tract delineation, to include an additional 160 acres in Section 32, Township 12 
South, Range 90 West. The additional area was incorporated into the Elk Creek Tract to 
ensure that federal coal for which there was adequate coal data was included to avoid a 
potential future bypass of coal. The tract, as amended, now covers approximately 3,863 acres 
and is shown on Figure 1, General Location Map. This tract contains a mixture of both federal 
(BLM and Forest Service) and private surface ownership. See Figure 2, Surface Ownership 
Map. Oxbow owns some of the surface and has obtained rights from other surface owners to 
access the private land. The legal description and estimated reserves for the Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tract are set forth in Appendix A, Lease Tract Information. 

In May of 1998, Bowie submitted an application for a coal exploration license (COC-61945) on 
unleased lands within and adjacent to the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. The exploration license 
area contain approximately 6,053 acres and is shown on Figure 1, General Location Map. Most 
of the surface contained in the coal exploration license application are managed by the BLM 
and the Forest Service. 

There is a total of approximately 1 1 ,600 acres in the project area. Surface ownership of this 
area is approximately 59 percent Forest Service, 26 percent BLM, and 15 percent private. See 
Figure 2, Surface Ownership Map. All of the coal estate is federally administered. 

Separate environmental assessments (EA) were prepared on the two lease tract applications 
(as amended by BLM's tract delineation), but not on the requested exploration license. In 
January of 1999, as part of the NEPA public process, the BLM and the Forest Service 
determined that the requirements of NEPA would be best served by preparing a consolidated 
EIS for the two coal lease tracts and the exploration license area. 

1.2.1 Iron Point Exploration License (COC-61945) 

An exploration license plan has been submitted to the BLM in accordance with 43 CFR 3410.2- 
1 . The legal description for the coal exploration area is set forth in Appendix A, Lease Tract 
Information. Exploration licenses can be granted for the exploration of unleased federal coal 
deposits. Pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, and to 43 CFR 3410, 
interested parties can participate with the original applicant in a program for the exploration of 
unleased federal coal. Any party electing to participate in an exploration license program must 
share all costs on a pro rata basis with the applicant and with any other party or parties who 
elect to participate. 

In June of 1998, the BLM published a Notice of Invitation in the Delta County Independent in 
accordance with 43 CFR 3410.2-1 (c)(1) describing the exploration license plan area and inviting 
any parties who are interested to participate in the exploration program. Bowie Resources, Ltd. 
was the original applicant; Ark Land Company (an affiliate of Mountain Coal Company) has 
elected to participate in this exploration program. 

1.2.2 Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (COC-61209) 

Bowie has filed an LBA with the Colorado State Office of the BLM to obtain a federal coal lease 
pursuant to provisions found at 43 CFR 3425.1 . This lease tract has been designated as COC- 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 1 p age 1-3 

61209. As applied for, lease tract COC-61209, also identified as the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract, contains approximately 3,403 acres from which D coal seam reserves would be 
extracted. The legal description for the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract is set forth in Appendix A, 
Lease Tract Information. 

1 .2.3 Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract (COC-61 357) 

Oxbow has filed an LBA with the Colorado State Office of the BLM to obtain a federal lease 
pursuant to provisions found at 43 CFR 3425.1 . This lease tract has been designated as COC- 
61 357. As originally applied for and later amended by the BLM, Lease Tract COC-61 357, also 
identified as the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, contains approximately 3,863 acres from which D 
coal seam reserves would be extracted. The legal description for the Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tract is set forth in Appendix A, Lease Tract Information. 

1.3 PURPOSE AND NEED 

Both the BLM and the Forest Service maintain policies which allow private industry to explore, 
develop, and mine coal reserves on federal lands. 

Pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended by the Federal Coal Leasing 
Amendments Act of 1976, the BLM administers a coal leasing program to allow the private 
sector to mine federally owned coal reserves. Under the terms of this law, the BLM is charged 
with the administration of the coal mineral estate on federal lands and is required to lease coal 
for economic recovery. Consent by the surface management agency (in this case the Forest 
Service) is required before BLM can proceed with leasing. 

Pursuant to the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970, the Forest Service administers its 
mineral program to: 

1 . Encourage and facilitate the orderly exploration, development, and production of 
mineral and energy resources within the National Forest System in order to maintain 
a viable, healthy minerals industry and to promote self-sufficiency in those mineral 
and energy resources necessary for economic growth and the national defense; 

2. Ensure that exploration, development, and production of mineral resources are 
conducted in an environmentally sound manner and that these activities are 
considered fully in the planning and management of other National Forest resources; 
and, 

3. Ensure that lands disturbed by mineral and energy activities are reclaimed for other 
productive uses. 

The Forest Service considers mineral exploration and development to be important parts of its 
management program. It cooperates with the USDI (through its agent the BLM) in 
administering lawful exploration and development of leaseable minerals. While the Forest 
Service is mainly involved with surface resource management and production, it recognizes that 
mineral exploration and development are ordinarily in the public interest and can be compatible 
in the long run, if not immediately, with the purposes for which the National Forest System 
Lands are managed. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 1-4 Purpose and Need for Action September 1999 

Under the Federal Leasing program, the USDI combined major federal coal management 
responsibilities into one unified program in order to: 

1 . Give the nation a greater assurance of being able to meet its national energy 
objective; 

2. Provide a means to promote a more desirable pattern of coal development with 
ample environmental protection; 

3. Assure that state and local governments participate in decisions about where and 
when federal coal production will take place; 

4. Increase competition in the western coai industry. 

Under regulations of the Mining and Mineral Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy 
Management Act, responsible federal agencies must ensure the following: 

1 . Adverse environmental impacts on public land surface resources are minimized to 
the extent practical; 

2. Measures must be included to provide for reclamation, where practicable; and, 

3. The proposed operation will comply with other federal and state laws and 
regulations. 

A discussion of the responsibility of the BLM and the Forest Service, as well as other federal, 
state, and local agencies, with regard to coal leasing and mining are set forth in Appendix B, 
Agency Jurisdictions (Permits and Approvals) . 

With the preparation of this EIS, the BLM and Forest Service are responding to the coal lease 
tract applications submitted by Bowie and Oxbow, as well as the exploration license application 
submitted by Bowie. The purpose and objectives for Bowie and Oxbow with regard to the Iron 
Point and Elk Creek Tracts, respectively, are to continue their coal mining operations as is 
technically and economically possible, at a maximum rate of return for its investors, consistent 
with applicable company, state, federal, and local environmental permitting and operational 
requirements. 

This EIS is prepared to inform federal agency decision-makers and publically disclose the 
probable environmental impacts of coal leasing and exploration, present a range of reasonable 
alternatives, and provide for possible mitigation measures in the event the leases and 
exploration license are approved. 

Bowie requested the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract in order to obtain reserves to supply potential 
customers and in order to economically justify the installation of a longwall system. The 
federally owned coal deposits in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract are a logical extension to 
existing operations at the Bowie No. 2 Mine. 

Bowie has also filed for an exploration license in order to obtain additional information regarding 
coal resources within the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and areas to the north of the Iron Point 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 1 Pagel-5 

Coal Lease Tract. Such exploration is required to further delineate the extent of the coal 
resources in this area, as well as to obtain coal quality information on the coal. 

Oxbow applied for the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract as a logical extension to its existing mining. 
Oxbow presently operates with a longwall system of underground mining. Although mining at 
the Sanborn Creek Mine was curtailed for the first half of 1999 due to a fire in the mine, Oxbow 
has recently reinitiated mining operations. Acquisition of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract would 
be a logical future extension of current mining by Oxbow. 

1.4 PROPOSED ACTIONS 

There are three proposed actions associated with this EIS: 

► Lease the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract on federal lands in Delta County, Colorado, 
for underground coal mining; and, 

► Lease the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract on federal lands in Delta and Gunnison 
counties, Colorado, for underground coal mining; 

► Issue an exploration license for coal exploration on federal lands in Delta County, 
Colorado. 

These actions, along with the No-Action Alternative, are discussed in detail in Chapter 2.0, 
Alternatives Including the Proposed Actions, of this EIS document. 

1 .5 DECISIONS TO BE MADE 

The BLM and the Forest Service are the joint lead agencies responsible for completion of this 
EIS. OSM is a cooperating agency in this EIS. OSM will prepare any Mineral Leasing Act 
mining plan decisions related to these leases. These agencies are following specific 
procedures that began with scoping and data collection and continued with analysis of data and 
evaluation of alternatives. The information and analysis conducted for the original EAs are 
incorporated into the EIS. In accordance with regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1500), 
the results of the environmental analysis within this EIS will form an important part of the 
leasing decisions to be made on the iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, as well as the 
exploration license application for the Iron Point area. Even though the applications were 
submitted by private companies, the applications are processed under BLM's LBA process (43 
CFR 3425) and, if approved for leasing, would be offered by competitive bid. Granting a lease 
only gives exclusive rights to the coal resource; it does not authorize mining. 

The information and data submitted in the coal lease applications by Bowie and Oxbow do not 
constitute a formal underground mining permit application package to either the OSM or the 
Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology (DMG). This coal lease application information has 
been used solely to develop an impact analysis in the EIS. Its use is intended to illustrate one 
possible development scenario for developing federal coal reserves on the lease tracts and 
does not imply that either Bowie or Oxbow would be given any preference in the event that 
lease sales are held. 

After the close of the Draft EIS review and comment period, the BLM and Forest Service will 
consider comments submitted by the public, interested organizations, and government 



Page 1-6 Purpose and Need for Action September 1999 

agencies (federal, state and local), and will respond to those comments in a Final EIS. OSM, 
which is a cooperating agency on this EIS, will assist the lead agencies with responses to 
comments pertinent to areas of their jurisdiction and expertise, as requested by the BLM and 
Forest Service. 

In accordance with 40 CFR 1503.4, the joint lead agencies will consider comments and respond 
to these comments by: 

1 . Modifying alternatives; 

2. Developing new alternatives; 

3. Modifying the analysis; 

4. Making corrections; or 

5. Explaining why comments do not warrant further agency response. 

After the release of a Final EIS, the BLM and Forest Service will issue Records of Decision 
regarding their respective decisions on the leasing applications and exploration license. 

The Colorado State Director, BLM, is the NEPA responsible signatory official for the BLM and 
will decide whether or not to offer the tracts for competitive leasing under the Mineral Leasing 
Act of 1920, as amended, and the federal regulations under 43 CFR 3400. The Uncompahgre 
Field Office Manager is responsible for the preparation of the EIS and providing the State 
Director with briefings and recommendations. In the Records of Decision, the BLM responsible 
official may decide to: 

► Adopt the No-Action Alternative (no leasing and/or exploration license); 

► Adopt the proposed actions (lease the coal as applied for by the applicants and/or 
grant the exploration license); 

► Adopt an alternative with features of several of the alternatives; or 

► Adopt one of the action alternatives with additional mitigation measures. 

The Forest Supervisor of the GMUG is the NEPA responsible official for the Forest Service. 
The Forest Supervisor must decide whether or not to consent to the BLM leasing National 
Forest System Lands according to the Federal Coal Leasing Amendments Act of 1976. The 
Forest Supervisor must also prescribe terms and/or conditions (through lease stipulations) with 
respect to the use and protection of non-mineral interests. Once the Records of Decision are 
signed and released, and if the leases are issued, the BLM would be responsible for lease 
administration and enforcement of lease terms and conditions. Similar decisions by the 
authorizing officers are required for approval of the exploration license. 

If one or both of the coal leases are issued and before any mining or surface development 
could occur, the lessee or operator would be required to submit a Permit Application Package 
(PAP) under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). SMCRA would give 
OSM primary responsibility to administer programs that regulate the surface effects of 
underground coal mining. Pursuant to Section 503 of SMCRA, the Colorado DMG developed, 
and the Secretary of the Interior approved a permanent program authorizing the Colorado DMG 
to regulate surface coal mining operations and the surface effects of underground mining on 
non-federal lands within the state of Colorado. In September of 1982, pursuant to Section 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 1 Page 1-7 

523(c) of SMCRA, the Colorado DMG entered into a cooperative agreement with the Secretary 
of the interior authorizing the Colorado DMG the right to regulate the surface effects of 
underground mining on federal lands within the state of Colorado. The governing regulations 
for coal mining in the state of Colorado are the 34-33-101 et. seq. of the Colorado revised 
statutes. 

Pursuant to the cooperative agreement, a federal coal lease holder in Colorado must submit a 
PAP to both the OSM and the Colorado DMG for any proposed coal mining and reclamation 
operation on lands within the state. The Colorado DMG reviews the PAP to ensure that it 
complies with the permitting requirements and that the coal mining operation will meet the 
performance standards of the approved Colorado program. 

The OSM, BLM, Forest Service and other appropriate federal agencies would review the PAP 
to ensure that it complies with terms of the coal lease (including any special conditions of 
approval), the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, NEPA, and other federal laws and their attendant 
regulations. 

If compliance is met, the Colorado DMG would issue the applicant a permit to conduct coal 
mining operations. Under the authority of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, OSM would then 
recommend approval, approval with conditions, or disapproval of the permit to the Assistant 
Secretary of the Interior, Land and Minerals Management. Before the permit can be approved, 
the BLM must concur with this recommendation, and approve a Resource Protection and 
Recovery Plan under 43 CFR 3482. The Forest Service must also consent/concur to the mine 
permit prior to its issuance. 

As part of the Colorado DMG permitting process, a new mining and reclamation plan or an 
amendment to an existing plan would be developed to show how lands in the lease tract and 
private/other federal owned coal would be mined and reclaimed. Specific impacts that would 
occur during mining would be addressed in the permit or revision, and specific mitigation 
measures for anticipated impacts would be identified at that time. 

The Colorado DMG enforces the performance standards and permit requirements for 
reclamation during a mine's operation and has primary authority in environmental emergencies. 
OSM retains oversight responsibility for this enforcement. The BLM and Forest Service also 
have authority in those emergency situations where the Colorado DMG or OSM can not act 
before environmental harm and damage occurs. 

Additional details regarding federal, state, and local government agency responsibilities are set 
forth in Appendix B, Agency Jurisdictions (Permits and Approvals). 

1.6 CONFORMANCE WITH LAND USE PLANS 

1.6.1 BLM Resource Management Plan Consistency 

The proposed actions are in compliance with the existing BLM land use plan. The 
Uncompahgre Basin Resource Management Plan (RMP) was completed, and approved in July 
of 1989. This RMP determined that the areas subject to the lease applications and exploration 
license applications were to be managed for both existing and potential coal development. The 
area is acceptable for coal development and coal production, and such coal activities could 
occur without conflicting with other land uses as described in the RMP. 



Pa ff e 1 ' 8 Purpose and Need for Action September 1999 

Upon receipt of the lease applications, BLM completed tract delineation. The assessment of 
coal unsuitability criteria has been completed for both the proposed Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 
(COC-61209) and the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract (COC-61385). The criteria has also been 
reviewed for implications with the other alternatives in this analysis. The unsuitability criteria 
published in 43 CFR 3461 were used. These coal unsuitaoility analysis reports are included in 
this EIS document as Appendix C, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Iron Point Tract (COC- 
61209), and Appendix D, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Elk Creek Tract (COC-61385). In 
addition, data adequacy standards were reviewed and determined to be adequate. 

The land use plan was amended to address the standards for land health (i.e., Standards and 
Guidelines). The land analyzed in the EIS project area is within the North Fork landscape unit. 
This unit has not been assessed for landscape health under the BLM's Standards and 
Guidelines procedures and little information on land health is available. A landscape health 
assessment is scheduled for the summer of 2000. Briefly, Colorado BLM's Standards are: 

*■ Ensure health of upland soils; 

► Protect and improve riparian systems; 

► Maintain healthy, productive plant and animal communities; 

► Maintain or increase populations of threatened and endangered species in suitable 
habitat; and 

► Ensure water quality meets minimum Colorado standards. 

The proposed action deals primarily with underground mining. Only minor surface disturbing 
activities would occur on BLM managed lands. Consequently there is little potential for actions 
to have a significant effect (positive or negative) to the landscape as a whole. There would be 
local effects where surface disturbing activities occur. For example, there would be increased 
potential for soil erosion and influx of weeds. It is assumed mitigation would avoid or lessen the 
impact. When the land health assessment is completed, BLM will determine if the land health 
standards are being met. If they are not being met, the causative factors will be determined 
and options for improvement formulated. If any permitted activities are found to affect land 
health, then modifications to operations as authorized by BLM will occur. 

1 .6.2 Forest Plan Consistency 

The amended Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) dated September 1991, for the 
GMUG National Forests made provisions for coal leasing subject to the application of the coal 
unsuitability criteria established in 43 CFR 3461 . (See Appendix C, Unsuitability Analysis 
Report - Iron Point Lease (COC-61209), and Appendix D, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Elk 
Creek Lease (COC-61385).) The LRMP also provided for applicable stipulations to be utilized 
for protection of specific surface resources as addressed in Section III, General Direction, 
pages 63-69 of the LRMP. 

The Forest Plan guides all natural resource management activities and establishes 
management standards and guidelines for the GMUG. Management directions described in the 
Forest Plan are a result of public issues, management concerns, and management 
opportunities. Multiple use management area prescriptions as designated in the Forest Plan 
(pages 111-1 14 to 187) for the lands bounded by the two proposed lease tracts and the 
exploration license are summarized below. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 1 Page 7 . 9 

4B - Wildlife habitat management for one or more management indicator species. 
Emphasis is on optimizing habitat capability for management indicator species. Other 
resource activities may occur, as long as habitat requirements are maintained. 

4D - Aspen Management. Emphasis is on managing aspen to produce wood fiber, 
visual quality and plant and animal diversity while maintaining and improving aspen sites 
on summer range. Other activities may occur as long as management goals and 
objectives are maintained. 

9A - Riparian/Aquatic Ecosystems. Emphasis is on the management of all the 
components of aquatic/riparian ecosystems to provide healthy, self-perpetuating plant 
communities, acceptable water quality standards, habitats for viable populations of fish 
and wildlife, and stable stream channels and still water body shorelines. Mineral 
activities may occur but must minimize disturbance to riparian areas and initiate timely 
and effective rehabilitation of disturbed areas and restore them to state of productivity 
comparable to that before disturbance. 

1 .7 PUBLIC AND AGENCY PARTICIPATION AND INVOLVEMENT 

As required by NEPA (40 CFR 1501.7), the BLM and the Forest Service have provided for an 
early and open process to determine the scope of issues to be addressed and to identify the 
issues related to this EIS. Elements in the scoping process included the following: 

► Publication of a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS in the Federal Register (dated 
April 13, 1999); 

► The description of the Purpose and Need, and the Proposed Actions including the 
nature of the decisions to be made; 

► The collection of existing data and information to address the two potential lease 
tracts and the exploration license area; 

► The initiation of public and government participation in the EIS process; 

► The determination of the type and extent of analysis to be used in the preparation of 
the EIS; 

► The identification of government agencies involved and appropriate responsible 
officials from the lead and cooperating agencies; and, 

► The plans for the preparation of the EIS, including selection of a format for the 
document and development of a schedule for EIS completion and publication. 

As mentioned in Section 1 .2, Background, EAs were originally prepared on the lease 
applications. Relevant information from the EAs has been incorporated into this EIS. In 
addition, the Delta/Montrose Public Land Partnership and North Fork Coal Working Group 
sponsored several community meetings regarding coal development in the North Fork Valley. 
Issues, concerns, and comments identified in those meetings are also incorporated into this 
EIS. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 1-10 Purpose and Need for Action September 1999 

1.7.1 Agency Meetings and Scoping 

On April 22, 1999, the BLM and Forest Service held an agency scoping meeting to discuss this 
EIS. Representatives from the BLM, Forest Service, OSM, Colorado DMG, Colorado Division 
of Wildlife, Delta County, and Gunnison County were present. On April 28, 1999, the lead 
agencies met with representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service. On May 18, 1999, the lead agencies met with representatives of the 
Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, a project description and vicinity map were sent 
to the Northern Ute Tribe. 

The purpose of these meetings were to familiarize these various federal, state, and local 
agencies regarding the various aspects of the North Fork Coal EIS and solicit their input on any 
issues regarding the planned work and the proposals. 

1.7.2 Public Scoping 

As required by NEPA (40 CFR 1503), the general public, businesses, special interest groups, 
and government agencies were provided the opportunity to become informed and comment on 
this EIS process. The BLM and the Forest Service accomplished these goals by holding 
agency and public scoping meetings; public mailings; publishing of a Notice of Intent in the 
Federal Register ; forming an interdisciplinary (ID) team; and preparing a scoping document. 

The formal scoping process began on April 13, 1999 and ended on May 17, 1999. The BLM 
and the Forest Service held a public scoping meeting in Hotchkiss, Colorado on April 21 , 1999. 

From input at the public meetings and from written comments, issues specific to the two 
potential coal lease tracts and the exploration license application were summarized and used as 
part of the criteria for completing this EIS document. Issues were used by the ID team for 
developing and screening alternatives, and evaluating consequences of the proposed actions. 
A synopsis of the issues identified for the proposed lease tracts and exploration license area is 
set forth in Section 1 .8, Issues and Concerns, of this EIS document. 

In April and July 1999, newsletters were sent to individuals, organizations and agencies on the 
North Fork Coal EIS mailing list to inform them on progress of the EIS and provide relevant 
information. 

1 .8 ISSUES AND CONCERNS 

Scoping was conducted to focus the EIS on those issues and concerns considered important to 
the public and various government agencies. A scoping summary document was prepared and 
made publically available in July 1999. 

Issues are areas of discussion, debate or dispute about the effects of proposed activities on 
various resources. Scoping is the procedure used to determine the extent of the analysis 
necessary to make informed decisions on the project proposals. From scoping input, issues 
specific to the proposed leasing and exploration license applications were summarized and 
used as part of the criteria for completing this EIS. Issues also were analyzed by the ID team 
for evaluating alternatives and assessing consequences. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 1 Page 1-11 

The following are issues that are addressed in this EIS: 

*■ Air Quality 

► Aquatic Resources/Fisheries 

► Cultural Resources 

► Cumulative Impacts 

► Geology/Geotechnical Issues/Subsidence 

► Health/Safety 
*■ Land Use 

- Noise 

► Reclamation 

► Recreation 

► Socioeconomics 

► Surface Water and Ground Water 

► Transportation 

► Vegetation 

► Visual Resources/Lighting 

► Wetlands 

► Wildlife 

1.8.1 Air Quality 

Identify and minimize air quality impacts. Areas of concern include: the effects on air quality 
from fugitive dust and gaseous emissions; air quality impacts (visibility) on the West Elk 
Wilderness Area; and cumulative air quality effects. 

1 .8.2 Aquatic Resources/Fisheries 

Minimize disturbance to fish habitat and fish populations. Areas of concern include: direct 
disturbance of stream channels; reduced flow; stream sedimentation; water quality degradation; 
and impacts to threatened and endangered aquatic species. 

1.8.3 Cultural Resources 

identify cultural resources and minimize disturbance impacts to these resources. Areas 
of concern include the effects to historic properties listed or eligible for listing on the National 
Register of Historic Places. 

1.8.4 Cumulative Impacts 

Address the cumulative impacts of leasing and exploration with other potential projects. 

Areas of concern include: the influence of mining from the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tracts in association with other mining activities in the area, especially the cumulative effects of 
coal transportation from the North Fork of the Gunnison River area and the socioeconomic 
effects to the economies of Delta and Gunnison counties. 

1.8.5 Geology/Geotechnical Issues/Subsidence 

Identify geologic hazards on the lease sites and the potential for subsidence by 
underground mining activities. Areas of concern include: the potential influence of geologic 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






Page 1-12 Purpose and Need for Action September 1999 

hazards; the potential for and consequences of subsidence; and, the effects of mining on the 
area's geology; the potential impact of mining and subsidence on the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 
kV electric transmission line that runs parallel to Terror Creek; and the potential effects to 
Terror Creek and the Terror Creek Reservoir by mining. 

1.8.6 Health/Safety 

Protect worker health and safety. Identify the emergency response measures that would 
be available in the event of a train derailment, fire, or explosion. Areas of concern for 
worker health and safety include: the risks from underground operations; the potential for train 
derailment in town; the potential responsibility for fighting fires along train right-of-ways; the 
possibility of an accident that would necessitate an emergency response; and the potential for 
fires or explosions in the underground mines. 

1 .8.7 Land Use 

Minimize disturbance. Areas of concern include: the acreage of disturbance; the amount of 
disturbance on BLM, Forest Service, and private lands; and the possible changes in future land 
use. 

1.8.8 Noise 

Identify and minimize noise impacts. Areas of concern include; level of noise from coal 
transportation by truck and railroad; noise from mine ventilation fans; disruptions caused by 
such noise to the normal activities of adjacent residents/communities; noise from Bowie No. 1 
Loadout; and, night time railroad noise in Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Delta. 

1.8.9 Reclamation 

Provide for reclamation of disturbed areas. Areas of concern include: the successful short- 
term soil stability and long-term revegetation practices; reclamation of Bowie No. 1 Mine portal; 
and, the ability to prevent or control damage to the environment. 

1.8.10 Recreation 

Minimize disturbance to recreational opportunities. Areas of concern include: disruption to 
recreational opportunities in the undeveloped areas within and adjacent to the coal lease sites 
caused by background sounds, traffic, subsidence, and accessability. 

1.8.11 Socioeconomics 

Address the social and economic impacts on local residents of Delta and Gunnison 
Counties. Areas of concern include: impacts to nearby communities as the result of mine 
closures or continuation of mining and such impacts on housing, utilities, employment, public 
services, community services, and present lifestyles; the effect of mine closure on workers and 
their families; the influx of new workers if production rates increase; and, the effects of 
temporary and permanent mine shutdown. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 1 Page 1-13 

1 .8.1 2 Surface Water and Ground Water 

Identify and minimize impacts to water quality and hydrology to maintain the integrity of 
watersheds within and surrounding the lease tract areas. Maintain adequate flows to 
drainages and ditches above underground mining activity. Areas of concern include: The 
potential to alter existing hydrologic systems; the potential to impact irrigation canals and the 
Terror Creek Reservoir by subsidence; alteration of downstream flow rates; alteration of 
existing springs and seeps; changes in water chemistry as a result of mining operations; and, 
impacts to water rights on Terror Creek, Hubbard Creek, Bear Creek, and Elk Creek. 

1 .8.1 3 Transportation 

Address truck and train traffic impacts created by coal mining in the North Fork of the 
Gunnison Valley and the potential for accidents. Areas of concern include: the amount of 
train traffic in the area; the ability of the railroad to handle the projected tonnages of coal to be 
mined from the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley; the increase in traffic as a result of 
hauling coal to the Bowie No.1 Loadout and the Terror Creek Loadout; the need for an 
additional rail loadout facility for the Bowie No. 2 Mine; the potential for accidents involving 
increased train and truck traffic; and, the risks for accidents at railroad crossings in Delta 
County as well as along sections of State Highway 133 subject to coal truck traffic. 

1.8.14 Vegetation 

Address the impacts to vegetation as a result of mining and exploration activity. Areas 
of concern include: the potential effects on threatened, endangered, or sensitive plants; control 
of noxious weeds; and, the impacts on vegetation as a result of any subsidence or surface 
disturbance. 

1.8.15 Visual Resources/Lighting 

Minimize the impacts from lights when operating at night. The concerns include: lighting 
from the facilities at the Bowie No. 1 Loadout, the Bowie No. 2 Mine, and the Sanborn Creek 
Mine. 

1.8.16 Wetlands 

Identify and minimize impacts to wetlands and Waters of the U.S. Areas of concern 
include: the acres of wetlands lost through direct impact; the changes in functions of values and 
wetlands and riparian areas as a result of mining and exploration activities; and, the potential 
effects from subsidence on these areas. 

1.8.17 Wildlife 

Minimize the disruption to terrestiral wildlife and wildlife habitats. Areas of concern 
include: the impacts to threatened, endangered, or sensitive species; impacts to big game 
habitat; loss of habitat and habitat effectiveness; and, impacts associated with continued and/or 
increased human activity. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 1-14 Purpose and Need for Action September 1999 

1 .9 PAST, PRESENT AND REASONABLY FORESEEABLE CUMULATIVE 

ACTIONS CONSIDERED IN THIS ANALYSIS 

A number of activities occur in the area surrounding the two lease tracts and the exploration 
license area. These activities primarily involve other coal exploration and mining activities, but 
there is also an electric transmission line, highway construction, agriculture, and logging. 

Coal exploration and mining activities have historically and are presently occurring in the areas 
to the north and south of the North Fork of the Gunnison River near the communities of Paonia 
and Somerset. See Figure 3, Historic Coal Mines and Federal Coal Lease Locations. Current 
projects within the general vicinity include the Bowie and Oxbow underground mining 
operations, as well as ongoing exploration and mining activities by Mountain Coal. These 
actions combined form the basis on which to analyze cumulative impacts. 

1.9.1 Bowie No. 1 Coal Mine 

At present, the Bowie No. 1 Mine is idle under provisions of a temporary cessation approval 
from the Colorado DMG. There is no current coal production from this mining operation. The 
Bowie No. 1 Mine is permitted with the Colorado DMG for a production rate of 1 .5 million tons of 
coal per year. This operation was developed by Colorado Westmoreland Coal Company in the 
late 1970s, subsequently sold to Cyprus Coal Company who operated the mine until 1998, 
whereupon it was sold to Bowie. The Bowie No. 1 Mine was operated as a room and pillar type 
operation, with coal being hauled from the mine portal area to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout near 
Paonia. 

In 1986, an underground mine fire closed the operation. Although the Mine Safety and Health 
Administration (MSHA) subsequently allowed the mine to re-open, there remains an area of 
coal reserves to the west of Terror Creek in Federal Coal Lease Tract No. COC-37210. This 
area of coal reserves is known as the Bowie No. 1 "pod." The fire severely hampered the 
access to this area, and officials from Bowie indicate that they have been exploring various 
scenarios that would allow access and recovery of this coal. Refer to Section 2.4.2, Alternative 
B - Offer Iron Point Coal Lease as Applied for by Applicant, Section 2.5.2, Alternative C - Offer 
Iron Point Coal Lease for Multi-Seam Mining, and Section 2.6.2, Alternative D - Offer Iron Point 
Coal Lease With Stipulation That There be no Subsidence in Sensitive Areas. 

1.9.2 Bowie No. 1 Coal Loadout 

The Bowie No. 1 Loadout is located northeast of the community of Paonia. This facility includes 
a truck dump area, conveyors, three silos with a capacity of 8,000 tons each, and a batch 
loadout tower for loading the railroad cars. Presently, Bowie is trucking coal from the Bowie No. 
2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. This loadout was originally permitted and constructed by 
Colorado Westmoreland Coal Company in the late 1970s to serve as the loadout from its 
mining operations (presently the Bowie No. 1 Mine). Coal is hauled currently from the Bowie 
No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout with highway trucks under a contract between Bowie 
and Savage Trucking Inc. Bowie has filed a technical revision with the Colorado DMG to 
increase the tonnage for the Bowie No. 1 Loadout up to 5 million tons per year. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 1 Paget-75 

1 .9.3 Bowie No. 2 Coal Mine 

Bowie is presently conducting coal mining operations from its Bowie No. 2 Mine, using room 
and piilar mining techniques. Coal is transported from the underground mine to the portal 
bench via a conveyor. From the portal coal storage areas, coal is loaded on trucks and hauled 
to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. 

Bowie has filed a permit revision with the Colorado DMG for the construction and operation of a 
conveyor which wiould transport coal from the portal bench to a proposed new coal handling, 
storage and truck loadout area adjacent to old State Highway 133. 

The Bowie No. 2 Mine is presently permitted for 2 million tons of production using room and 
pillar mining techniques. Bowie has submitted a permit revision for a longwall system upgrade 
to the Colorado DMG. With the installation of a new longwall system, Bowie plans to increase 
production to 5 million tons per year. If Bowie is the successful bidder for the Iron Point Coal 
Lease Tract, they would utilize their existing facilities to handle coal mined from this tract. 

1.9.4 Sanborn Creek Coal Mine 

The Sanborn Creek Mine, operated by Oxbow, is located northeast of the community of 
Somerset. This mine is permitted with the Colorado DMG for an annual production of up to 4 
million tons per year. 

At present, Oxbow is rehabilitating the Sanborn Creek Mine as a result of a shutdown in 
January of 1999 caused when elevated CO and C0 2 were detected in the mine ventilation 
exhaust. As a result of a mine fire, the mine was sealed and flooded with water. After working 
with MSHA on safety issues and precautions, Oxbow has recently re-opened the operation. 

Coal mined by the longwall system from the Sanborn Creek Mine is conveyed from the 
underground workings to surface coal handling and loadout facilities located immediately north 
of the community of Somerset. Recent construction has added additional coal storage 
capability along with a new batch loadout facility for train car loading. 

Oxbow is the applicant for the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. Oxbow has filed a technical 
revision to its current permit with the Colorado DMG and is planning to construct a new portal 
pad on their private (fee) property in Elk Creek regardless of the outcome of the lease sale for 
the Elk Creek Tract. If successful in obtaining the lease, Oxbow would use these surface 
facilities located on private surface to extend its coal mining activities into the Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tract. 

1 .9.5 Terror Creek Coal Loadout 

This loadout is a custom coal loadout, with coal being shipped from this facility to specialized 
customers, such as cement plants and other industrial complexes that use coal. See Figure 1, 
General Location Map, for the location of the Terror Creek Coal Loadout. The Terror Creek 
Coal Loadout is owned by Oxbow (88%) and the Bear Coal Company (12%), but the facility is 
operated by Oxbow. This loadout facility is permitted to handle approximately 150,000 tons of 
coal per year. The coal is hauied from the Somerset facilities by Oxbow-owned highway trucks 
to the Terror Creek Loadout. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 1-16 Purpose and Need for Action September 1999 

1.9.7 West Elk Coal Mine 

The West Elk Mine is located south and east of the community of Somerset, approximately 3 
miles from the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract and 6 miles from the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. 
This mine is operated by Mountain Coal Company (a subsidiary of Arch Minerals Company) 
and is permitted with the Colorado DMG. This mine was opened in the early 1980s, and a 
longwall system of operation was added in 1 991 . The West Elk Mine produces coal from 
several federal coal leases, and the company has worked with the Forest Service on a number 
of exploration applications in the past. 

In 1998, Mountain Coal shipped 5.9 million tons of coal from the West Elk Mine, but projects 
that it could ship up to 7.3 million tons in 2000 and 8.2 million tons in 2005. 

1 .9.8 Electric Transmission Line 

The Western Area Power Administration owns and operates the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV 
electric transmission line that essentially parallels Terror Creek, west of the Bowie No. 2 Mine. 
The right-of-way for this transmission line is 125 feet in width, which includes access roads. 
The transmission line structures are steel lattice with buried reinforced concrete bases. 

1.9.9 Highway 133 Upgrade 

State Highway 133 is located adjacent to the North Fork of the Gunnison River and is the main 
road that accesses the coal mines in the Paonia and Somerset area. This highway connects 
Hotchkiss with Carbondale, Colorado, and traverses McClure Pass. Over the past 20 years, 
the Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT) has funded and overseen upgrades and 
relocations of this highway in an area east of Paonia to the inlet of the Paonia Reservoir. In 
1999-2000, the Colorado DOT has contracted for the upgrade of a 5 mile section of State 
Highway 133 immediately downstream of the Paonia Reservoir. This upgrade will involve 
straightening, widening, and repaving activities. Other routine maintenance and upgrades will 
continue in the future. 

1.9.10 Agriculture 

Agricultural activities have historically been and continue to be a prominent part of the local 
Paonia economy. Fruit production is generally confined to the valley floors and low 
mesas/terraces adjacent to the North Fork of the Gunnison River. In recent years, vineyards 
(and several wineries) have been developed and are being operated in the Paonia area. 

Sheep and cattle grazing also occurs on pastureland in the Paonia area, with summer livestock 
grazing occurring in the higher elevations above the Bowie and Oxbow operations, including 
lands within and surrounding the proposed Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. 

1.9.11 Water Storage and Irrigation Canals 

To serve agricultural, as well as some domestic use in the area, there are a number of water 
storage reservoirs and irrigation canals. The Terror Creek Ditch and Reservoir Company 
operates and maintains the Terror Creek Reservoir (also known as the Bruce Park Reservoir) 
and Terror Creek Canal to provide water for agricultural and domestic users on Garvin Mesa. 
The Terror Creek Reservoir and Terror Creek are shown on Figure 1, General Location Map. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






September 1999 Chapter 1 p age j. 77 

Other canais, such as the Fire Mountain Ditch, the Deer Trail Ditch and the Steward Ditch, 
essentially parallel the North Fork of the Gunnison River to provide gravity feed irrigation water 
for agricultural purposes. 

1.9.12 Logging 

There is only minimal logging in the vicinity of the two coal lease tracts and the exploration 
license area. The Hotchkiss Ranch Company has harvested several aspen stands on their 
property which is located within and surrounding the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. Some 
products other than logs, such as fence posts and fuel wood, have been harvested off federal 
lands within and adjacent to the coal lease tracts and exploration license areas, but this activity 
has been limited. 

The major timber harvest activities in the region have occurred in the Stevens Gulch area, 
which is located north of the community of Paonia, Colorado. 

1.9.13 Railroad Maintenance/Improvements 

The Union Pacific owns and maintains the "North Fork Branch," the rail spur line that provides 
services to the coal mines in the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley. This spur line is 
approximately 95.5 miles in length. It originates in Grand Junction and passes through the 
communities of Delta, Hotchkiss, Paonia, and Somerset Colorado. This line serves the Bowie 
No. 1 (Converse), Terror Creek, Oxbow, and West Elk coal loadout facilities. In 1998, this spur 
line handled approximately 850 trains and hauled an estimated total of 8.6 million tons of coal 
from the various North Fork coal loadouts. The Union Pacific, as part of their normal practice, 
plans and undertakes a schedule of maintenance and upgrades on this spur line. 

1.9.14 Recreation 

There are no developed recreational facilities operated by the BLM or Forest Service on the 
proposed coal lease tracts and exploration license area. Hunting is the primary recreation 
activity within and adjacent to the proposed coal lease tracts and exploration license area. 
Other dispersed recreational activities occur in the area, but on a limited basis due to the lack of 
developed facilities. Four-wheeling, hiking, picnicking, horseback-riding, snowmobiling, and 
general sight-seeing have been mentioned as occurring. 

1.9.15 Housing Development 

In recent years, the area within and surrounding the communities of Paonia, Hotchkiss, 
Crawford, and Delta, Colorado have experienced an influx of population and the construction of 
new housing. This region of Colorado seems to be attractive to new "migrants" because of a 
number of factors including the area's natural beauty, low land costs, sparse population, 
minimal land use controls, and low cost of living. The new housing development is "down- 
valley" from the proposed coal lease tracts and exploration license area. 

1 .1 AGENCY JURISDICTIONS (PERMITS AND APPROVALS) 

Preparation of an EIS at the leasing stage and the actual mine permitting processes are related 
but distinct. An EIS is designed to explore alternatives, mitigation measures, and 
environmental impacts. The permitting processes give individual government decision-makers 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 1-18 Purpose and Need for Action September 1999 

the authority to grant approvals and issue permits with requirements and conditions to eliminate 
and/or mitigate specific adverse environmental impacts which are identified in the EIS. See 
Appendix B, Agency Jurisdictions (Permits and Approvals) , for details of tentative approvals 
and permits needed for exploration and mining activity. 

A number of federal, state, and local permits and approvals would be required for actual mining 
of the coal in the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. See Appendix B, Agency 
Jurisdictions (Permits and Approvals) . 

BLM decisions can be immediately effective and are typically issued 30 days after the Final EIS 
is issued. Forest Service decisions are usually issued with the Final EIS. Implementation 
occurs after the close of a 45 day appeal period, and a 5 day administrative stay if there are no 
appeals. 

1 .1 1 ISSUES OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF THIS EIS 

The two proposed coal lease tracts and the exploration license area are not located in any 
areas of critical environmental concern, in or adjacent to the corridor of a designated, eligible or 
potentially eligible wild and scenic river, prime or unique farmlands, or wilderness areas. There 
are no effects anticipated on any Forest Service trails in the area. Also, there would be no 
affects on any wild horses or burros. 

Over the past several years, there have been three possible projects in the greater area that 
could have a cumulative impact. These are the Dominquez Canyon Reservoir, AB Lateral 
Diversion, and Mount Emmons Molybdenum Mine. At this time, there are no immediate 
applications or proposals being offered. The future outlook for these projects is speculative at 
best. Consequently, they are outside the scope of this EIS. 

On February 1 1 , 1994, the President issued Executive Order 12898 on environmental justice in 
minority and low income populations. The purpose of the Order is to identify and address, as 
appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects of 
programs, policies or activities on minority or low income populations. There are no low income 
or minority populations that could be disproportionately affected by the proposed actions. 

Some issues identified during scoping were not carried forward in the analysis because they 
were determined to be outside the scope of the EIS, not address the purpose and need, or be 
outside the agencies' jurisdiction. 

A few examples of these types of issues are listed below: 

► The EIS should disclose that Oxbow Carbon and Minerals previously requested the 
BLM to investigate whether or not there could be a lease option sale prior to 
conducting the EIS, and the reasons for this request: those being that since 
allegations had been made by credible parties that Bowie Resources Ltd.; intended 
to bid on Oxbow's proposed lease of federal coal reserves in the Elk Creek Tract, 
and since the mine operators are paying the third-party contractors developing the 
EIS, that Oxbow wanted to resolve the competitive bid process prior to paying for 
the EIS. 

► Money invested by Bowie and Oxbow will sway the EIS. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 1 Page 1-19 

- We need health studies dealing with sleep deprivation, especially in children. 

► We must do everything to maintain the balance between coal, agriculture, 
recreation, tourism, and to preserve the uniqueness of this valley. 

► I would like to see an in depth study done on the three major companies, (Bowie, 
Oxbow, and Mountain Coal) regarding the safety record, the integrity, and the 
honesty of these companies based on past performance. And I would like to see 
this information made available to the public. 

► Should corporate responsibility be considered by the community? 

► Have local mines paid their bills on time and followed the applicable rules and laws? 

► To what extent have they been good and/or bad neighbors? 

► How about researching methane gas recovery to prevent another mine-closing 
explosion. A project could be developed to convert the gas to a utility heating plant. 

► I would like to inform the people that approximately 80% of the electricity in the U.S. 
is produced with coal. 

► Would government subsidies be required if agencies didn't lease for coal? 

*■ Can we have a broader discussion on energy alternatives and job alternatives? 

► We must be weary of all seeking in roads and to foray in pursuit of short sided 
ambition. Pandering for businesses and corporations must cease. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Chapter 



Alternatives Including the 

Proposed Action 



September 1999 Chapter 2 



Page 2-1 



2.0 ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED ACTION 



2.1 INTRODUCTION 

The discussion of alternatives is the foundation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
process (see 40 CFR 1402.14). The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the USDA Forest 
Service (Forest Service) have explored and evaluated numerous ideas and options during the 
selection and development of the alternatives which include a No-Action Alternative and the 
actions as proposed by the applicants for the exploration license and the coal lease tracts. In 
total, four alternatives (including the No-Action Alternative) have been developed for evaluation 
in this EIS. 

This chapter also includes reclamation, management, mitigation, and monitoring measures 
which would be associated with the implementation of any of the action alternatives. The 
environmental consequences associated with each of the alternatives are analyzed in Chapter 
3, Environmental Analysis. 

The BLM and the Forest Service used engineering, reclamation, and environmental baseline 
and background information and data to develop this EIS document. There have been visits to 
the existing Bowie No. 2 Mine, the Sanborn Creek Mine, and the West Elk Mine by agency 
personnel and the third-party contractor. These visits have resulted in familiarity with the 
existing mining, the surrounding area, and an insight regarding future mining in the region, as 
proposed, as well as a working understanding regarding the range of possible alternatives. 

2.2 FORMULATION OF ALTERNATIVES 

Alternatives were developed and analyzed to respond to the purpose for and need of the 
proposed actions, to address social and environmental issues, to respond to public and agency 
concerns and input, and to satisfy regulations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

The interdisciplinary (ID) team of the BLM and the Forest Service met on June 17, 1999 to 
consider possible alternatives with regard to this EIS. A number of ideas and options were 
identified; some were eliminated from consideration if they clearly could not meet the proposal 
objectives or address the issues. 

The objective of developing and reviewing alternatives for this EIS is to provide BLM and Forest 
Service decision-makers and the public with a range of reasonable alternatives for 
consideration. One of those alternatives is the No-Action Alternative, which NEPA requires to 
be discussed in any EIS document. 

Under the action alternatives, the BLM would hold coal lease sales for the Iron Point and Elk 
Creek Coal Lease Tracts, subject to coal lease stipulations of the BLM and the Forest Service 
and any coal lease stipulations developed as part of this EIS process. Each of the action 
alternatives (B, C and D) by design apply coal lease stipulations. Any coal lease tract offered 
for competitive sale would be bound by the conditions of the standard lease form (see Appendix 
H, Standard BLM Coal Lease Terms, Conditions and Stipulations), restrictions developed from 
application of the unsuitability criteria (see Appendix C, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Iron Point 
Coal Lease Tract (C-61209)), and Appendix D, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tact (C-61357), and Forest Service stipulations for coal leasing (see Appendix I, Forest 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-2 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action September 1999 

Service Stipulations - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (C-61209), and Appendix J, Forest Service 
Stipulations - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract (C-61357)). The lease-by-application (LBA) process 
is, by law, an open, public, competitive, sealed-bid process whereupon the coal lease would be 
granted to the highest qualified bidder. 

Following the completion of the NEPA process, and issuance of Records of Decision, if 
approved, the BLM would hold coal lease sales. The lessees who are successful in obtaining 
the coal lease tracts must provide engineering detail, along with reclamation and closure plans, 
designed to comply with terms, conditions, and stipulations applied to the lease as a result of 
the NEPA analysis to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) and 
the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology (DMG). Prior to any mining activities within the 
lease boundaries, the detailed design, operation, and reclamation activities of the lessee(s) 
must meet OSM and Colorado DMG permitting regulations and guidelines. Such assurances 
would be required to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to conduct actual mining 
operations. 

The BLM and the Forest Service, with input from the OSM (cooperating agency), have explored 
and objectively evaluated numerous project alternatives. The federal agencies used 
information developed during scoping to analyze potential alternatives. The objective of this 
discussion was to develop a reasonable array of alternatives for analysis in the Draft EIS. 

As a result of this deliberation, the agencies have chosen four alternatives (No-Action plus three 
action alternatives) for consideration in the Draft EIS. The selection of these alternatives does 
not preclude the modification, addition, or deletion of an alternative in the Final EIS. 

The following is a brief synopsis of the alternatives analyzed in this EIS: 

- Alternative A - No-Action Alternative. This alternative assumes no leasing would 
occur and that the exploration license would be denied. In addition, this alternative 
presents the existing conditions in the North Fork Valley and would represent a 
baseline for impact analysis. It assumes a production at the Bowie No. 2 Mine of 2 
million tons per year and production of 4 million tons at Oxbow's Sanborn Creek Mine. 
This alternative does not consider the interruption of coal production at the Sanborn 
Creek Mine due to the recent mine fire. 

► Alternative B - Proposed Action. This alternative was generated based on the 
original coal lease applications submitted by Bowie and Oxbow. The proposed action 
for the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract assumes a northern boundary south of the Terror 
Creek Reservoir, along with an area that would provide access under Terror Creek to 
coal reserves to the west of Terror Creek in existing federal coal lease number C- 
37210. Production from the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract was assumed to be 5 million 
tons per year via longwall mining techniques. 

The Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract includes 40 acres added to the proposed lease tract 
in Section 32 (the northeast corner of the lease tract). This is acreage added to the 
lease tract by the BLM. Production from the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract was 
assumed to range from 4 to 6 million tons per year. Coal mining would be 
accomplished by longwall mining techniques. 

► Alternative C - Multiple Seam Mining. This alternative is similar to Alternative B, 
with the inclusion of additional reserves in the B coal seam in the Iron Point Coal 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-3 



September 1999 Chapter 2 

Lease Tract, as well as additional surface area and reserves that are located between 
the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. An area was also added to the Iron 
Point Coal Lease Tract in the Terror Creek drainage to facilitate the location of 
possible entries beneath Terror Creek to access coal in the Bowie No. 1 pod. These 
coal reserves are located in the existing federal coal lease C-3721 0. See Figure 3, 
Historic Coal Mines and Federal Coal Lease Locations. In Alternative C, mining would 
be completed by longwall techniques, and annual coal production would be the same 
as outlined in Alternative B. 

► Alternative D - Subsidence Protection. This alternative would be the same as 
Alternative C with the limitation that there would be no subsidence under Terror Creek, 
Hubbard Creek, or the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV electric transmission line. 

Alternatives B, C, and D analyze the development of the coal lease tracts under reasonably 
foreseeable scenarios. These scenarios are judged by the agencies to be essentially "best 
estimate" mining plans which account for the competitive nature of coal leasing. It is assumed 
that for each lease tract, coal could be mined to the tract boundaries using longwall extraction 
techniques with continuous miner development and standard industry practices. See Appendix 
F, Overview of Underground Coal Mining. 

For the Elk Creek Tract, it is foreseen that coal from the D seam could be extracted from a 
series of north-south oriented longwall panels. In the Iron Point Tract, coal from the D seam 
could be accessed by east-west oriented longwall panels in the southern portions of the tract, 
and by north-south panels in the northern portions. Alternatives C and D also consider mining 
the B (lower) coal seam in the Iron Point Tract. The B seam reserves could be accessed in a 
similar configuration as the D seam. 

If another party would be the successful bidder, the BLM and the Forest Service have 
determined that the most probable course of action would be that the leases be accessed 
through existing portals. In the unlikely event that a lessee would want to construct a new and 
separate portal facility, a supplemental NEPA analysis would be required to determine the 
impacts resulting from such action. The analyses in Chapter 3 are based on assuming longwall 
mining and subsequent subsidence would occur. 

The information and data submitted in the coal lease applications by Bowie and Oxbow do not 
constitute a formal underground mining permit application package (PAP) to either the OSM or 
the Colorado DMG. This coal lease application information has been used solely to develop an 
impact analysis in the EIS. Its use is intended to illustrate one possible plan for developing 
federal coal reserves on the lease tracts and does not imply that either Bowie or Oxbow would 
be given any preference in the event that lease sales are held. 

Alternative B, C, and D also analyze the effects of issuing the exploration license according to a 
potential development scenario. Figure 4, Iron Point Exploration Plan, shows potential locations 
of exploration drill holes. The locations are estimates but are very close approximations to 
where the drill holes would be located. Most of the proposed locations have been visited and 
the potential sites located to minimize potential impacts. 

The details of Alternatives A, B, C and D are set forth in the following sections. All of the action 
alternatives are consistent with the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison Forest Plan. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-4 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action September 1999 

Prior to initiating any work involved with any approved action alternative (s), the applicable 
lessee(s) must not only file and secure the necessary permits, but also must file reclamation 
performance securities with the Colorado DMG for any exploration or mining activities. These 
securities would not be released until the Colorado DMG determined that adequate closure and 
reclamation have been successfully completed. 

2.3 ALTERNATIVE A: NO-ACTION ALTERNATIVE 

NEPA requires that an EIS discuss the No-Action Alternative. This section outlines the No- 
Action Alternatives for the Iron Point Exploration License, the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract, and 
the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 

2.3.1 Alternative A: No-Action Alternative - Iron Point Exploration License 

Under this alternative, approval for the exploration license would be denied. The No-Action 
Alternative would preclude any exploration in the Iron Point exploration plan area. 

2.3.2 Alternative A: No-Action Alternative - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 

Under the No-Action Alternative, the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract COC-61209 would not be 
offered for competitive sale at this time. For purposes of this EIS analysis, the No-Action 
Alternative assumes that the federal mineable coal in the proposed lease area would not be 
mined. 

If the decision would be not to lease, it would be assumed for this EIS that Bowie would 
continue mining its fee (private) coal reserves. 

The following describes current activities for the Bowie No. 2 Mine should the No-Action 
Alternative be selected for the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. This discussion would serve as a 
baseline against which to compare the effects of action alternatives. 

Project Location. The Bowie No. 2 Mine is located approximately five miles northeast of 
Paonia, north of State Highway 133, and is situated at an elevation range of approximately 
6,000 to 8,000 feet. See Figure 1, General Location Map. 

Nature of Coal and Coal Reserves. Bowie is presently mining coal reserves from the D seam. 
The D seam ranges in thickness from 8 to 1 6 feet, with an average mineable thickness of ten 
feet. Bowie also has B seam coal reserves that could be mined from the Bowie No. 2 Mine. 

The average run-of-mine coal quality for the D coal seam, on an as-received basis, follows: 



BTU/pound: 


12,000 


Moisture: 


9-10% 


Ash: 


7-8% 


Sulfur: 


<0.5% 



As of May 1999, the Bowie No. 2 Mine has approximately 5 to 6 million tons of mineable D coal 
within its approved permit area. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 2 Page 2-5 

Surface Facilities. The Bowie No. 2 Mine is an existing underground mining operation. The 
mine portals and major surface facilities are located about 800 feet above old State Highway 
133 at an elevation of approximately 6,880 feet where the D seam subcrops. The surface 
facilities consist of sediment control structures, coal handling facilities, support facilities for mine 
operations, and other related facilities. 

Coal mined from the Bowie No. 2 Mine is trucked to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout northeast of the 
town of Paonia, Colorado. See Figure 1, General Location Map. The Bowie No. 1 Loadout is 
an existing unit train loadout facility. 

Bowie also plans to construct a conveyor belt from the existing Bowie No. 2 portal area surface 
facilities to a location immediately adjacent to the old State Highway 133. At this lower location, 
next to the old state highway, a coal storage and truck loadout area would be constructed. At ' 
this new storage facility, coal can be loaded directly into trucks and hauled to the Bowie No. 1 
Loadout, thus eliminating truck use of the relatively steep and windy road from the portal pad to 
old State Highway 133. 

Mining Techniques. Presently, room and pillar underground mining techniques are used to 
mine the D coal seam at the Bowie No. 2 Mine. See Appendix F, Overview of Underground 
Coal Mining, for a detailed discussion of room and pillar mining techniques. Coal is loaded from 
the working face by continuous miners into shuttle cars that transport coal to an underground 
conveyor belt loading point. This underground conveyor belt transports the coal to the surface. 
As part of mining, approximately two to three feet of coal is left to support the mudstones that 
are located immediately above the coal seam. 

Bowie is proceeding with development work for the installation of a longwall system at the 
Bowie No. 2 Mine. It is planned that this longwall system will be installed in private coal at the 
operation sometime in 1999. At present, development of the initial longwall panels is being 
conducted at the Bowie No. 2 Mine. A detailed discussion on longwall mining techniques is set 
forth in Appendix F, Overview of Underground Coal Mining. 

Operating Schedule. Bowie mining operations are presently conducted on four-ten hour 
production shifts (Monday-Thursday) and three-thirteen hour shifts (Friday-Sunday). Mining is 
conducted 365 days per year. With the installation of a longwall system, Bowie plans to 
maintain the same operating schedule. 

Production Schedule. The Bowie No. 2 Mine is permitted with Colorado DMG to mine 
approximately 2 million tons of coal per year. 

Area for Surface Facilities. Approximately 70 acres were disturbed for the construction of 
surface facilities for the Bowie No. 2 Mine. This includes the portal facilities, the haul road from 
the portal facilities to old State Highway 133, a utility corridor for a waterline and powerline, 
underground development waste rock (gob) facility, topsoil stockpile, and sediment control 
facilities. An estimated 1 to 1 5 acres will be needed for the installation of a new conveyor from 
the portal pad area to a location adjacent to old State Highway 133, the construction of a coal 
storage/truck loadout facility, and the related sediment control facilities. 

Project Life. The project life of the Bowie No. 2 Mine would depend on the production rate 
from the operation. At a production level of 2 million tons per year from a room and pillar 
operation, the Bowie No. 2 Mine has approximately four to five years of D coal seam reserves. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-6 



Alternatives Including the Proposed Action 



September 1999 



With the installation of longwall system, the remaining D coal seam reserves provide only about 
one and a half years of operations without accessing the underlying B-seam. 

Employment. In 1998, with room and pillar mining techniques, the Bowie No. 2 Mine 
employed an annual average of approximately 157 people. 

Coal Transportation. At present, Bowie contracts its coal haulage to Savage Industries Inc. 
(Savage). Coal is being hauled in highway trucks with a capacity of approximately 28 tons of 
coal from the Bowie No. 2 portal area to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. 

Upon completion of the new conveyor and the coal storage and truck loadout facility adjacent to 
old State Highway 133, the coal haulage distance would be shortened, but Savage would 
continue to haul using their 28-ton trucks. 

Employee/Supply Transportation. Access to the Bowie No. 2 Mine is via State Highway 133. 
See Figure 1, General Location Map. 

Operational materials, consisting primarily of mine roof support materials (roof bolts and timber) 
fuel, and rock dust (finely-ground limestone), are delivered to the mine on a regular basis. 
These materials would be shipped from remote sources (Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, 
Denver). Listed in Table 2-1, Materials and Supplies - Bowie No. 2 Mine (@ 2 million tons per 
year), are the major consumable items for the Bowie No. 2 Mine; the table shows the estimated 
materials and supplies for annual production of 2 million tons of coal per year. 



Table 2-1 

Materials and Supplies - Bowie No. 2 Mine 

(@ 2 million tons per year) 


Consumables 


Daily Use 


Annual Use 


Physical Form 


Truck Shipments 


Weekly 


Yearly 


Roof Bolts (tons) 


4 


1,500 


Steel 


1.25 


65 


Fuel (gallons) 


150 


55,000 


Liquid 


0.2 


10 


Rock Dust (tons) 


10 


4,000 


Powder 


3 


150 


Timbers 


3 


10,000 


Crib Blocks 


0.5 


25 


Note: These figures represent materials and supplies for room and pillar mining. 



Water Use and Requirements. Water demand at the Bowie No. 2 Mine varies annually, 
seasonally, and even daily throughout the life of the operation. Presently Bowie has a variety of 
water rights including 0.5 cfs (362 acre-feet per year) from the Deer Trail Irrigation Ditch. Water 
withdrawals from the Deer Trail Ditch are used at the mine for varying operational needs such 
as surface dust control which is weather dependent. At present, the underground workings at 
the Bowie No. 2 Mine are essentially dry. Under normal usage, the Bowie No. 2 Mine uses 
approximately 59 acre-feet per year for mining purposes and approximately 6 to 7 acre-feet per 
year for domestic purposes. 

Power Supply. -Bowie obtains its electric power from the Delta-Montrose Electric Association. 
Bowie has a substation located along the existing distribution/transmission line in the North Fork 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-7 



September 1999 Chapter 2 

of the Gunnison River valley. Electricity is transmitted to the surface facilities via a powerline 
that has been constructed up the slope. The powerline has been designed to minimize any 
raptor electrocutions. 

Reclamation. A discussion of reclamation appropriate to underground coal mines in Colorado 
is set forth in Section 2.9, Reclamation Measures. 

2.3.3 Alternative A - No-Action Alternative - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 

Under the No-Action Alternative, the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract COC-61357 would not be 
offered for competitive sale at this time. For purposes of this EIS, the No-Action Alternative 
assumes that the federal mineable coal in the proposed lease area wouid not be mined. 

If the decision would be not to lease, it is assumed for this EIS that Oxbow would continue its 
present mining of the B seam at the Sanborn Creek Mine and would still develop the Elk Creek 
portal area, which is located on private surface, in order to mine the D seam coal reserves from 
their fee (private) coal area. 

The following discussion portrays the current activities of Oxbow should the No-Action 
Alternative be implemented for the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. This discussion serves as a 
baseline against which to compare the effects of action alternatives. 

Project Location. The Sanborn Creek Mine and its related surface facilities are located 
immediately north and northeast of the community of Somerset, Colorado. The surface 
facilities are located on Oxbow's private lands north of State Highway 133, at an elevation 
range of approximately 6,000 to 6,100 feet. See Figure 1, General Location Map. 

Nature of Coal and Coal Reserves. Oxbow is presently mining coal reserves from the B 
seam. In this area, the B seam thickness ranges up to 24 feet with an average mineable 
thickness of 1 to 1 4 feet. 

The average run-of-mine coal quality for the B seam on an as-received basis is as follows: 



BTU/Pound: 


12,500 


Moisture: 


8-9% 


Ash: 


6-7% 


Sulfur: 


<0.5% 



The Sanborn Creek Mine has approximately 8 to 12 million tons of mineable B seam coal within 
its approved permit area. 

Once the B seam coal reserves are extracted from the Sanborn Creek Mine, Oxbow plans to 
mine D seam reserves, on its fee lands adjacent to the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. In this 
area, the B and C seams have been previously mined by U.S. Steel Corporation {see Appendix 
G, Historic Coal Mining Activity). The D seam is approximately 250 to 300 feet above the B 
seam. 

The average run-of-mine coal quality analysis for the D seam on an as-received basis is 
expected to be: 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-8 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action September 1999 



BTU/Pound: 


12,500 


Moisture: 


9-1 0% 


Ash: 


7-8% 


Sulfur: 


<0.5% 



There are approximately 4 to 5 million tons of D seam mineable coal on Oxbow's Elk Creek fee 
property. 

Surface Facilities. The Sanborn Creek Mine is an existing mining operation. The surface 
facilities consist of coal handling facilities, mine support facilities, sediment control structures, 
and other related facilities. 

Coal mined from the Sanborn Creek operation is transported via surface conveyor from the 
portal facility to the Oxbow coal handling and loadout facility located immediately north of the 
town of Somerset, Colorado. This facility includes an existing unit train loadout. 

Mining Techniques. The Sanborn Creek Mine utilizes a longwall system for coal extraction. A 
detailed discussion on longwall mining techniques is set forth in Appendix F, Overview of 
Underground Coal Mining. 

Oxbow plans to utilize the longwall mining system to complete the B seam extraction in the 
Sanborn Creek Mine, then relocate the longwall system to recover D seam reserves from 
Oxbow's fee land located adjacent to the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 

Operating Schedule. The Sanborn Creek Mine operates three-eight hour shifts per day, 
seven days per week, 356 days per year. The mine has 1 1 holidays. 

Production Schedule. The Sanborn Creek Mine is permitted with Colorado DMG to mine 
approximately 4 million tons of coal per year. 

Area for Surface Facilities. Approximately 95 acres are utilized for Oxbow surface facilities. 
This includes the coal handling, crushing, and loadout facilities located immediately north of 
Somerset, as well as a hooded overland conveyor system to the portals of the Sanborn Creek 
Mine. These facilities also include miscellaneous items such as underground development 
waste rock (gob) engineered fills, topsoil stockpiles, and sediment control facilities. 

Oxbow plans to open a new portal facility to be called the Elk Creek portal to be located on 
Oxbow's private lands. The Elk Creek portal would involve a total of approximately 25 acres 
(including about 10 acres of existing disturbance and 15 acres of new disturbance) and would 
be used to support mining operations from the proposed Elk Creek portal located on Oxbow's 
fee surface. The other existing Oxbow facilities, including the coal handling and loadout 
facilities, maintenance facilities, office, bath house, and other ancillary facilities would continue 
to be utilized for the proposed mining through the Elk Creek portal. 

Development of the Elk Creek portal on Oxbow's fee property would occur concurrently with the 
longwall mining in the Sanborn Creek Mine. Once mining is exhausted in the Sanborn Creek 
Mine, the longwall system (shear machine, longwall shields, chain conveyor, etc.), would be 
transported from the Sanborn Creek Mine into the Elk Creek Mine. The Elk Creek Mine would 
simply represent a continuation of current operations at the Sanborn Creek Mine. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 2 



Page 2-9 

Project Life. At a production rate of 4 million tons per year, the mining life of the B seam coal 
reserves in the Sanborn Creek Mine is approximately two to three years. Adding the D seam 
fee coal on Oxbow's property adjacent to the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, an additional two to 
three years of operation can be achieved. 

Employment. In 1998, Oxbow had approximately 175 regular, full time employees, plus 40 
contract miners, and 20 to 30 construction/contractor personnel. 

Coal Transportation. Oxbow operates a unit train loadout at its existing facilities. Coal is 
transported from the underground operation to this unit train loadout via conveyor belt. In 
addition, Oxbow owns a fleet of coal hauling trucks, with a capacity of hauling 28 tons of coal 
per truck. These trucks are used to haul approximately 150,000 tons of coal per year to the 
Terror Creek Loadout, which is approximately four miles to the west of the Oxbow surface 
facilities at Somerset. This coal is sized for miscellaneous industrial and defense contracts, as 
well as for local domestic home heating uses. 

Employee/Supply Transportation. Access to the Oxbow operation is via State Highway 133. 

Operational materials, consisting primarily of mine roof support materials (roof bolts and 
timbers), fuel, and rock dust (finely-ground limestone), are delivered to the mine on a regular 
basis. These materials would be shipped from remote sources (Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, 
Denver). Listed in Table 2-2, Materials and Supplies - Oxbow Operation (@ 4 million tons per ' 
year), are the major consumable items that would be required for the Oxbow mines for the 
annual production rate of 4 million tons of coal per year. 



Table 2-2 

Materials and Supplies - Oxbow Operation 

(@ 4 million tons per year) 


Consumables 


Daily Use 


Annual Use 


Physical Form 


Truck Shipments 


Weekly 


Yearly 


Roof Bolts (tons) 


4 


1,100 


Steel 


1 


50 


Timbers 


80 


30,000 


Crib Blocks 


1.5 


75 


Fuel (gallons) 


650 


240,000 


Liquid 


1.4 


70 


Rock Dust (tons) 


8 


2,800 


Powder 


2 


100 



Water Use and Requirements. Water demand at the Oxbow operation varies annually, 
seasonally, and even daily during mining operations. Presently, Oxbow has two water rights 
totaling 0.9 cfs (652 acre-feet per year) right from the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Water 
withdrawals from the North Fork of the Gunnison River are used at the mine and also as a 
water source for the town of Somerset. Oxbow handles about 1 50 to 1 90 acre-feet per year 
during mining. A portion of this water is used for underground dust control; the rest is 
discharged to the North Fork of the Gunnison River under an approved National Pollutant 
Discharge Elimination System Permit. In addition, Oxbow uses approximately 6 to 7 acre-feet 
per year for domestic use. 

Power Supply. Oxbow obtains its electric power from the Delta-Montrose Electric Association. 
Oxbow maintains three substations located within its surface facilities near Somerset, Colorado, 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-10 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action September 1999 

and downloads electricity from an existing distribution/transmission line in the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River valley. A fourth substation would be added at the Elk Creek portal area. 

Reclamation. A discussion of reclamation appropriate to the underground coal mines in 
Colorado is set forth in Section 2.9, Reclamation Measures. 

2.4 ALTERNATIVE B - PROPOSED ACTIONS 

2.4.1 Alternative B: Iron Point Exploration License 

On May 12, 1998, an exploration license plan was submitted to the BLM in accordance with 43 
CFR 3410. The exploration license area is shown on Figure 4, Iron Point Exploration Plan. The 
area encompasses approximately 6,053 acres, primarily on National Forest System lands. 

Exploration licenses can be granted for the exploration of unleased federal coal deposits. 
Pursuant to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1 920, as amended, and to 43 CFR 341 0, interested 
parties can participate with the original applicant in a program for exploration of unleased 
federal coal. Any party electing to participate in an exploration license program must share all 
costs on a pro rata basis with the applicant and with any other party or parties who elect to 
participate. 

On June 17, 1998, the BLM published a Notice of Invitation in the Delta County Independent in 
accordance with 43 CFR 3410.2-1 (c)(1) describing the exploration license plan area and inviting 
any parties who are interested to participate in the exploration program. Ark Land Company 
(an affiliate of Mountain Coal Company) elected to participate in this exploration program. 

The applicant proposes to drill 26 exploration holes as shown on Figure 4, Iron Point 
Exploration Plan. Holes would be rotary drilled to predetermined depths, cased as necessary, 
and the coal zone would be cored. 

Exploration would be accomplished with one of the following methods: 

► Air 

*■ Air with water injection 

*■ Water with synthetic polymer lubricant 

Drilling would be accomplished with two types of rigs. The first, a truck mounted rotary such as 
a Gardner Denver 2000, and the second, a truck mounted Longyear 44 or equivalent. One 
mobile field office trailer, approximately 8x28 feet, would be used as a core logging facility and 
would be moved with the rig from location to location. 

The drilling rigs would be accompanied by a 3,000-gallon water truck, a flatbed service truck, 
and smaller pick-up trucks as necessary for service and transportation to and from the drilling 
sites. A 10,000-gallon or similar water truck might be used as on-site storage to minimize the 
need for water trucks to travel over wet roads during inclement weather. 

To further reduce water truck traffic on dirt roads, water would also be pumped to 
certain drill hole locations, or a central storage point, via high pressure hoses. A pump would 
be placed in a horse trough and located adjacent to certain stock water ponds or Hubbard 
Creek. The horse trough would prevent any oil, grease, or fuel from escaping to the water 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 2 Page 2-1 1 

source. One pump site on Hubbard Creek would require helicopter transport of the pump and 
horse trough. 

Some or all of the drill holes may be geophysically logged. The equipment necessary for such 
work is typically mounted in a full size Suburban-type 4x4. 

To the extent possible, existing roads would be used for access and, where available, disturbed 
sites (wide spots, borrow pits, etc.) would be utilized for drilling sites. Some drill holes may 
require helicopter access. Approximately two miles of access roads may be required if all 26 
holes shown on Figure 4, Iron Point Exploration Plan, are drilled. With these access roads, it is 
estimated that 2 to 3 acres would be affected. These new roads would be temporary, for 
drilling access only, and would be reclaimed in accordance with applicable BLM and Forest 
Service standards for temporary access roads and in compliance with performance standards 
of the Colorado DMG for light use roads. Each individual drill pad would require about 0.25 
acres of surface disturbance. For 26 drill holes, an estimated 6.5 acres would be affected. In 
total, disturbance from exploration activities would be less than 10 acres. 

Roads would be constructed using a Caterpillar D-9 class dozer, or equivalent, or smaller track- 
mounted dozers, and a proportionately sized backhoe such as a John Deere 41 OC. Most 
existing roads were constructed originally for coal exploration purposes, but they may require 
regrading, replacement of culverts, etc., for renewed drilling access use. A backhoe and/or a 
motor grader would be adequate to assist with this minor maintenance work. 

The applicant contemplates modifying two exploration drill holes, identified as IP99-8 and IP99- 
10, for future groundwater monitoring wells. See Figure 4, Iron Point Exploration Plan. 

Drilling and access road/site preparation work would begin as soon as possible after an 
exploration license is granted, weather permitting and in compliance with wildlife stipulations. 
Drilling and geophysical logging activities must occur within the two-year period allowed for 
under exploration license approvals. 

Exploration drill hole plugging and sealing would be contemporaneous with the drilling program. 
When no longer needed for any drilling or geophysical logging activities, the drill sites would be 
reclaimed. Reclamation for exploration activities would consist of plugging and capping drill 
holes, recontouring drill pads, rehabilitating mud and covering sumps, redistributing topsoil, and 
revegetating disturbed sites with grasses and shrubs. Experience shows that drill pads reclaim 
within three to five years. 

Exploration activities would be controlled by Forest Service surface use stipulations. See 
Appendix I, Forest Service Stipulations - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (C-61209). 

Any exploration would also comply with the rules and regulations regarding exploration. Any 
surface disturbing activities associated with the exploration license area would also be subject 
to reclamation bonding by the appropriate agencies. 

2.4.2 Alternative B - Offer Iron Point Coal Lease Tract as 
Applied for by Applicant 

This action alternative would offer the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract for competitive leasing. The 
tract would contain approximately 3,403 acres of federal coal in the Iron Point Tract, with an 
estimated 24 million tons of recoverable D coal seam reserves. Based on the unsuitability 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-12 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action September 1999 

criteria discussed in Appendix C, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (C- 
61209), mining would be restricted or limited under the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345kV electric 
transmission line. 

The reasonably foreseeable development scenario for the Iron Point Tract is discussed in 
Section 2.2, Formulation of Alternatives. 

The following presents additional information regarding the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract: 

Project Location. See Figure 5, Alternative B. 

Nature of Coal and Coal Reserves. The coal reserves are in the D seam of the Mesa Verde 
Formation. An estimated 24 million tons of recoverable reserves are contained within this lease 
tract for the D seam. 

Surface Facilities and Equipment. The existing surface facilities of the Bowie No. 2 Mine 
would be used, along with the planned construction of a new overland, covered conveyor, and a 
coal storage/truck loadout facility on private property. The coal storage and loadout facility 
would be adjacent to old State Highway 133. The lessor may establish several improvements 
on the lease tract, including an exhaust shaft in the Hubbard Creek drainage and degasification 
boreholes (one assumed for each proposed longwall panel). To the extent possible, existing 
roads would be used for the ventilation shaft and degasification boreholes. 

Mining Techniques. Longwall mining would be planned for the lease. 

Operating Schedule. Same as currently undertaken by Bowie No. 2 Mine. See Section 2.3.2 
No-Action Alternative - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (COC-61209). 

Production Schedule. A projected 5 million tons of coal per year could be extracted from the 
lease. The actual tonnage could be less, dependant on market conditions. 

Area for Additional Surface Facilities. Other than possibly three exhaust shafts and • 
degasification boreholes, and the access to these locations, no new surface disturbance is 
planned. Disturbance for an individual exhaust shaft would be less than one acre. Similarly, 
degasification boreholes would be similar to exploration drill holes, averaging less than 0.25 
acre of disturbance per site. However, depending on where the exhaust shafts and 
degasification boreholes are located, there could be additional disturbance associated with 
access road construction to the sites. Existing access roads would be used to the extent 
practicable. 

Project Life. At 5 million tons of coal per year of production, the project life for extraction of the 
D coal seam from the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract would be approximately five years of 
operation. However, at reduced production, the project life would be extended. 

Employment. An operation involving longwall mining of the coal in the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract would employ an estimated 1 68 people. 

Coal Transportation. Coal would be transported via the newly constructed conveyor to a coal 
storage/truck loadout facility near old State Highway 133. These facilities are located on private 
ground. The coal would then be trucked to the Bowie No.1 unit train loadout. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 

■ 



September 1999 Chapter 2 Page 2-13 

Employee/Supply Transportation. Generally the same as Alternative A with some increases 
for the higher production rate. See Section 2.3.2, No-Action Alternative - Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract (COC-61 209) and Table 2-3, Materials and Supplies - Bowie No. 2 Mine (@ 5 million tons 
per year).. 



Table 2-3 

Materials and Supplies - Bowie No. 2 Mine 

(@ 5 million tons per year) 


Consumables 


Daily Use 


Annual Use 


Physical Form 


Truck Shipments 


Weekly 


Yearly 


Roof Bolts (tons) 


5 


1,800 


Steel 


2 


100 


Fuel (gallons) 


250 


90,000 


Liquid 


0.25 


14 


Rock Dust (tons) 


15 


5,000 


Powder 


5 


200 


Timbers 


120 


40,000 


Crib Blocks 


2 


100 


Note: Numbers represent an annual production rate of 5 million tons of coal (longwall). 



Water Use and Requirements. Generally the same as Alternative A. See Section 2.3.2, No- 
Action Alternative - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (COC-61 209). Water use for mining purposes 
is estimated to increase to 1 45 acre-feet per year as a result of the higher production. 

Power Supply. Same as Alternative A. See Section 2.3.2, No-Action Alternative - Iron Point 
Coal Lease Tract (COC-61 209). 

Reclamation. Same as Alternative A. See Section 2.3.2, No-Action Alternative - Iron Point 
Coal Lease Tract (COC-61 209). 

2.4.3 Alternative B - Offer Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract as 
Applied for 

This action alternative would offer for competitive lease approximately 3,863 acres of federal 
coal in the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, containing approximately 21 million tons of D coal seam 
recoverable reserves. 

The mine plan presented under this reasonably foreseeable development scenario was 
developed from a mine plan submitted by Oxbow in their coal lease application. This plan 
would represent a logical extension of current Oxbow mining operations into the Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tract. 

This proposed action scenario is used to estimate the surface impacts of mining the coal on the 
Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. This reasonably foreseeable development scenario anticipates 
that the Elk Creek portal would be constructed on Oxbow's Elk Creek fee lands to gain access 
to Oxbow's Elk Creek fee coal, followed by access to the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 

The following presents information regarding the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract: 

Project Location. See Figure 1 , General Location Map. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-14 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action September 1999 

Nature of Coal and Coal Reserves. An estimated 21 million tons of recoverable reserves are 
contained within this lease tract for the D seam. 

Surface Facilities and Equipment. In order to develop the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, 
Oxbow plans to open a new portal to be called the Elk Creek Mine portal and mine their fee 
coal. This portal would be located on Oxbow's private lands to the south of the Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tract. The existing surface facilities used for the Sanborn Creek Mine would continue in 
use for the Elk Creek Mine operation while mining their fee coal. These facilities would 
probably also be used to handle the coal mined from the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, 
regardless of the successful bidder. 

There are no portals or other surface facilities to be located on the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 
All surface facilities would be located on fee lands adjacent to the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, 
with the possible exception of a ventilation shaft in the Bear Creek drainage and 16 
degasification boreholes (one assumed for each longwall panel). To the extent practicable, 
existing roads would be used to gain access to any future shaft and/or degasification boreholes. 

Mining Techniques. Longwall mining would be planned for the lease. 

Operating Schedule. Same as currently undertaken by Oxbow for the Sanborn Creek Mine. 
See Section 2.3.3, No-Action Alternative - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract (COC-61357). 

Production Schedule. An average of 4 million tons of coal per year and a maximum of 6 
million tons of coal per year could be extracted from the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 

Area for Additional Surface Facilities. Disturbance for a ventilation shaft would be less than 
one acre. Similarly, the potential 16 degasification boreholes would be similar to exploration 
drill holes, averaging less than 0.25 acre of disturbance per site. These acreage figures do not 
include possible road access to the sites. Depending on the ability to use existing access 
roads, access roads might be needed to gain access to the ventilation shaft and the 
degasification boreholes. 

Project Life. At an average of 4 million tons per year of coal production, the project life for 
extraction of the D coal seam from the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract (in addition to the fee coal 
mined on Oxbow property) would be 8 to 12 years. At a maximum of 6 million tons per year of 
production, the project life for extraction of the D coal seam from the Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tract alone would be between three to four years of operation. 

Employment. An operation involving longwall mining of the coal in the Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tract would employ an estimated 190 to 215 people. 

Coal Transportation. Same as Alternative A. See Section 2.3.3, No-Action Alternative - Elk 
Creek Coal Lease Tract (COC-61357). 

Employee/Supply Transportation. Same as Alternative A. See Section 2.3.3, No-Action 
Alternative - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract (COC-61357). 

Water Use and Requirements. Same as Alternative A. See Section 2.3.3, No-Action 
Alternative - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract (COC-61357). 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 2 Page 2-15 

Power Supply. Same as Alternative A. See Section 2.3.3, No-Action Alternative - Elk Creek 
Coal Lease Tract (COC-61357). 

Reclamation. Same as Alternative A. See Section 2.3.3, No-Action Alternative - Elk Creek 
Coal Lease Tract (COC-61357). 

2.5 ALTERNATIVE C - MULTI-SEAM MINING AND ADJUSTED COAL 
LEASE BOUNDARIES 

2.5.1 Alternative C - Iron Point Exploration License 

Same as proposed for Alternative B. See Section 2.4.1 , Proposed Action - Iron Point 
Exploration License. 

2.5.2 Alternative C - Offer Iron Point Coal Lease Tract for Multi-Seam Mining 

This action alternative would offer the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract for competitive leasing with 
both the D and B seams available for mining. The lease boundaries would be slightly widened 
in the area along Terror Creek to allow adequate room for underground access entries to be 
driven from the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract under Terror Creek to the coal in the Bowie No. 1 
pod. See Figure 6, Alternative C. 

With the expansion of the lease boundaries from those delineated for Alternative B, the Iron 
Point Coal Lease Tract under Alternative C would encompass approximately 3,643 acres, with 
an estimated 24 million tons of recoverable D coal seam reserves and an estimated 19 million 
tons of recoverable B coal seam reserves. As with Alternative B, any mining as contemplated 
under Alternative C would be restricted or limited under the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345kV electric 
transmission line. 

The multi-seam development scenario contemplated under Alternative C would entail mining 
both the D and B coal seams within the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. The B coal seam would 
be accessed by an underground rock slope from the overlying D coal seam. Coal mined from 
the B seam would be transported from the underground workings to the existing Bowie No. 2 
surface coal handling and loadout facilities. 

At a projected 5 million tons of coal per year of production, the project life for extraction of the D 
coal seam from the Iron Point Tract would be approximately five to six years of operation. At 
this same production rate, the extraction of the B seam would add approximately another 4 
years to the life of the mine. Total project life would be an estimated nine to ten years at a 
production rate of 5 million tons of coal per year. 

The other aspects of the mining for the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract would essentially be the 
same as presented for Alternative B. See Section 2.4.3, Alternative B - Offer Iron Point Coal 
Tract as Applied for. 

2.5.3 Alternative C - Offer Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract with Revised Boundary 

This action alternative would offer for competitive lease approximately 4,296 acres of federal 
coal in the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, containing approximately 23 million tons of D coal seam 
recoverable reserves. Under this alternative, the western boundary of the Elk Creek Coal Lease 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-16 Alternatives including the Proposed Action September 1999 

Tract would be adjusted to coincide with the eastern boundary of the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract. See Figure 6, Alternative C. 

The development plans for the Elk Creek Tract would essentially be the same as presented for 
Alternative B; however, it might be possible to extract additional coal within the expanded 
western boundary area. By joining the lease tracts, access might be possible from one lease to 
another. 

The other aspects of the reasonably foreseeable development would be the same as under that 
described for the Elk Creek Mine in Alternative B. See Section 2.4.3, Alternative B - Offer Elk 
Creek Coal Lease Tract as Applied for. 

2.6 ALTERNATIVE D - NO SUBSIDENCE IN SENSITIVE AREAS 

2.6.1 Alternative D - Iron Point Exploration License 

Same as proposed for Alternative B. See Section 2.4.1 , Proposed Action - Iron Point 
Exploration License. 

2.6.2 Alternative D - Offer Iron Point Coal Lease Tract With Stipulation 
That There be No Subsidence in Sensitive Areas 

This action alternative would offer the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract for competitive leasing as 
proposed in Alternative C. The only difference would be the strict stipulation that there would 
be no subsidence under either Terror Creek or Hubbard Creek, nor any subsidence under the 
Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV electric transmission line. 

2.6.3 Alternative D - Offer Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract With Stipulation 
That There be No Subsidence in Sensitive Areas 

This action alternative would offer the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract for competitive leasing as 
proposed in Alternative C. The only difference would be the strict stipulation that there would 
be no subsidence under Hubbard Creek. 

2.7 TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS 

Transportation attracted considerable attention and comments during the scoping period. In 
particular, there were two main issues: 

1 . Coal truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout; and, 

2. The impacts of increased railroad traffic and the ability of the Union Pacific Railroad to 
handle increased coal tonnage from the mines in the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
valley. 

Possible options to coal truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout 
include the following: 

► No-Action Alternative (not lease the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract) 

► Limited production on Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 2 Page 2-17 

- Increase capacity of highway trucks hauling the coal 

► Build a new railroad loadout at Bowie No. 2 Mine to replace the Bowie No. 1 Loadout 

► Build a stand-alone haul road from Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout and 
utilize off-highway haulers 

► Build a conveyor from Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout 

Railroad options would include an examination of the No-Action Alternative and the impacts of 
relative levels of total coal production shipped by rail from the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
valley. 

In response to public input and public interest, the BLM and Forest Service decided to examine 
these transportation options in Section 3.14, Transportation. The BLM and the Forest Service 
recognize that these transportation options exist with differing economic and legal implications. 
The lead agencies decided that it was in the public interest to discuss these options and the 
various impacts/benefits that might occur with the implementation of such options. 

During the scoping process, representatives from the Colorado Department of Transportation 
did not indicate any problem with State Highway 133 handling the projected increased coal 
truck traffic. In addition, a representative from the Union Pacific Railroad also voiced his 
opinion that the existing railroad can handle increased coal tonnage from the mines in the North 
Fork Valley. 

2.8 ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED BUT ELIMINATED FROM 
DETAILED EVALUATION 

2.8.1 Offer Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts Without Stipulations 

This alternative would not include any standard and/or special coal lease stipulations for the 
protection of non-coal resources such as wildlife, soils, water, etc. This alternative was not 
analyzed because it would be inconsistent with BLM and Forest Service land-use plans. 
Environmental impacts resulting from this alternative could cause material damage of 
resources. 

2.8.2 Room and Pillar Mining (no Longwall Mining) of the Iron Point 
and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts 

The impacts of room and pillar mining were not assessed for the Iron Point or Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tracts. This alternative was considered but not analyzed given the current reasonable 
expectation that the coal in both leases would be recovered by longwall mining techniques, as 
this mining method seems to be the trend for mining in the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
valley. If a successful lessee decides that mining should be completed solely by room and pillar 
methods, it might be necessary to undertake additional environmental analysis to determine 
mining impacts, especially the subsidence potential, which would be different than longwall- 
induced subsidence. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-18 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action September 1999 

2.8.3 Surface Mining of the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts 

Surface mining of the coal in the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would neither be 
economically or environmentally preferable due to topographic and geologic conditions. 

2.8.4 Limit the Size of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract to Avoid Coal Beneath 
Terror Creek and Curecanti-Rifle 230/345kV Electric Transmission Line 

An alternative, discussed in the environmental assessment (EA) prepared for the Iron Point 
Coal Lease Tract, would have adjusted the lease boundaries to eliminate area from the lease 
under Terror Creek and the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV electric transmission line, as well as 
adding a one mile buffer zone from the Terror Creek Reservoir. The purpose of these 
restrictions was to prevent any subsidence from impacting these facilities. ' 

In limiting the size of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract, and precluding any mining access 
beneath Terror Creek, access to the coal reserves in Federal Coal Lease COC-37210 could be 
realized only via the existing Bowie No. 1 Mine or by re-opening and rehabilitating the now 
abandoned Farmer's Mine. It should be noted that such actions would only be speculative at 
this point, as no formal permit applications or requests for such actions have been submitted to 
the Colorado DMG or other regulatory agencies. 

Accessing the federal coal reserves in Lease COC-37210 through the existing Bowie No.1 Mine 
would be expensive and also extremely difficult given the dangers and hazards that such an 
undertaking might involve rehabilitating through the area in the mine ravaged by a 1986 mine 
fire. Perhaps, such a rehabilitation would not be allowed by the Mine Safety and Health 
Administration. 

Re-opening and rehabilitation of the old Farmer's Mine would have its own set of impacts and 
expenses. A new portal area with its associated surface facilities would have to be constructed. 
The access roads to the site would have to be upgraded. Travel and coal transportation in the 
Garvin Mesa area would be increased dramatically, causing safety, dust and noise impacts to 
area residents. 

This alternative of reducing the size of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract was eliminated from 
detailed evaluation. The action alternatives will effectively address the relevant issues. 

2.9 RECLAMATION MEASURES 

Regulations and policies of the BLM, Forest Service, OSM, and Colorado DMG require 
reclamation. Areas disturbed by coal exploration and mining operations in the state of Colorado 
must be returned to a stabilized and productive condition following the exploration and mining. 
The goal of reclamation is to protect long-term land, water, and air resources in the area. 
Lands disturbed by coal exploration and mining operations must be returned to productive land 
uses consistent with land management policies. 

Any coal exploration and mining activities within the state of Colorado must receive approval of 
reclamation measures from the Colorado DMG. Similarly, for coal exploration and mining 
activities on federal lands administered either by the BLM or the Forest Service, reclamation 
plans for any disturbed sites must be submitted to and approved by the BLM and/or Forest 
Service. The OSM, a federal agency with oversight on coal exploration and mining, provides 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 2 Page 2-19 

oversight of the Colorado DMG and cooperates with the BLM and Forest Service when federal 
coal is involved in either exploration or mining. Specific reclamation plans are part of the PAP 
submitted to Colorado DMG. 

Any reclamation plans approved for the Iron Point exploration tract and for mining on or 
associated with the Iron Point or Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would be required to describe 
measures to reduce long-term impacts at the disturbed sites, with the goal to return any 
disturbed land to a productive state similar to that which existed on the site prior to exploration 
or mining disturbance. 

It should be noted that reclamation practices and technology are changing and developing. 
There could be future modifications in reclamation plans as techniques and materials are 
refined or developed. Any applicant for an exploration license or lessee of a federal coal tract 
would certainly be encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to explore new reclamation 
techniques and new methods for erosion control. Reclamation plans for coal mining operations 
are reviewed every two and a half years and would be updated at least once every five years or 
as appropriate to include improvements in reclamation technology. 

Any reclamation programs for the Iron Point Exploration License Area and the Iron Point and 
Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would be designed to reclaim exploration and/or mine related 
disturbance in compliance with the requirements of the applicable regulatory agencies. 

2.9.1 Reclamation Goals and Objectives 

The current land use of the Iron Point Exploration License Area and the Iron Point and Elk 
Creek Coal Lease Tracts is primarily livestock grazing, wildlife habitat, and dispersed 
recreation. Some of the area in the general vicinity of the exploration license and coal lease 
tracts has previously been harvested for timber (aspen). 

The reclamation plan for any disturbances associated with any of the alternatives would 
incorporate the following basic goals: 

► Establishment of stable surface, topographic, and drainage conditions that are 
compatible with the surrounding landscape and that control erosion, water quality, and 
air quality impacts; 

► Establishment of surface soil conditions that are conducive to regeneration of a stable 
plant community through removal, stockpiling, and re-application of suitable topsoil 
and cover soil material; 

► Revegetation of disturbed areas using species adapted to site conditions in order to 
establish a long-term productive, self-sustaining, biotic community compatible with 
currently identified land uses and comparable with what currently exists on the site; 
and, 

► Consideration of public safety including posting warning signs, limiting public access, 
and stabilizing or removing structures created as a result of mining activities that could 
constitute a public hazard. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-20 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action September 1999 

2.9.2 Reclamation Schedule 

Closure and reclamation measures would be incorporated into exploration and mine permits, 
and they would be an integral part of any exploration and mining by the BLM, Forest Service, 
OSM, and the Colorado DMG. 

Reclamation activities would be initiated as soon as reasonably feasible following completion of 
any exploration or mining related disturbance in a particular area if the area is not going to be 
used for some ongoing or proposed future operation. One of the fundamental objectives of 
reclamation is to minimize erosion and sedimentation problems. In general, reclamation 
activities would be timed to take advantage of optimal climatic conditions. Seed beds would be 
prepared, and seeding would be completed in order to take advantage of seasonal moisture. 

Interim reclamation would be employed to reduce erosion and the potential for water quality 
degradation. Interim reclamation refers to reclamation efforts on lands disturbed during the 
course of a project. It is used to temporarily stabilize an area prior to final reclamation. Interim 
reclamation would include revegetation to reduce erosion and sedimentation during the life of a 
project. Topsoil would not be applied to interim revegetation areas. Mulch would be applied, as 
appropriate, following seeding. The areas which would require interim reclamation would 
include temporary road embankments and topsoil stockpiles. 

Most reclamation activities for an exploration project and underground mining operation would 
occur on completion of the use of an exploration drill hole site and at final mine closure and 
would be considered permanent, or final, reclamation. The areas to undergo reclamation at the 
completion of an exploration program would include drill pads and roads not needed for some 
future ongoing use. For mine closure, reclamation would involve the portal facility areas, coal 
waste rock disposal areas, borrow sites, roads, and other ancillary areas. Final reclamation for 
an underground coal operation would begin upon permanent cessation of mining activities for 
the associated coal reserve area. 

Temporary Cessation. Although a temporary cessation of operations is generally not planned, 
circumstances beyond the control of applicants may require temporary cessation of operations 
at either mine site. Cyclical production trends or slow-downs are unpredictable because they 
are due to a combination of circumstances including expiration of coal contracts, fluctuation in 
coal prices, labor disputes or costs, production costs, taxes, company profitability, and effects 
of national, political and economic events. 

In the event of a temporary cessation of coal mining activities, mine operators would notify the 
BLM, Forest Service, OSM, and Colorado DMG of the temporary curtailment of mining 
activities. This notification would include reasons for the shutdown and estimated time frame 
for resuming production, as well as ongoing maintenance and monitoring measures to be 
employed during the temporary cessation of operations. As an example, the Bowie No. 1 Mine 
is currently in temporary cessation. 

During any temporary shutdown, operational and environmental maintenance activities would 
continue to assure the site meets all permit and lease stipulations and requirements for 
environmental protection. Environmental monitoring requirements would continue on defined 
schedules, as outlined in lease stipulations and appropriate permit approvals. Environmental 
reports would be submitted in a timely manner. Regardless of the operating status of the 
mining, appropriate monitoring would be continued until compliance with all permanent closure 
requirements was attained, unless modified by the appropriate regulatory authorities. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 2 Page 2-21 

Permanent Cessation. In the unlikely event that mining activities permanently cease prior to 
the scheduled completion of operations, environmental impacts related to such operations may 
be less than originally envisioned, although socioeconomic impacts may be magnified. If 
operations cease prematurely, the mine operators would work with the appropriate agencies, as 
necessary, to revise the reclamation plan in order to specifically address the existing conditions 
at the time of closure. 

2.9.3 General Reclamation Practices 

Coal exploration and mining operators are responsible for the following general steps in 
reclaiming disturbed areas: 

► Decommissioning of facilities 

► Removal of structures 

► Portal closing and sealing 

► Sealing and plugging drill holes 

► Recontouring and regrading 

► Topsoil replacement 

► Topsoil sampling and fertilization 

► Permanent revegetation 

► Mulching 

► Reclamation maintenance and monitoring 

Each of these steps is described in the following sections. 

Decommissioning of Facilities. Unless a beneficial alternative post-mining land use is 
approved, following completion of an exploration project and the permanent cessation of a coal 
mining operation, all equipment, instrumentation, furniture, etc. would be removed from the site 
or disposed of in a manner acceptable to and approved by the Colorado DMG. 

Removal of Structures. Unless a beneficial alternative post-mining land use is approved, all 
structures and facilities used for exploration or mining activities would be dismantled and/or 
removed from the site at the time of project completion or permanent operation closure. This 
includes temporary trailers, the portal facility complex, the coal handling and loadout facilities, 
electric power facilities such as powerlines and substations, shops, warehouses, office 
buildings, etc. 

Portal Closing and Sealing. At the permanent cessation of underground coal mining 
activities, all portal entries and ventilation raises or shafts would be permanently sealed. 
Permanent closure measures would be designed and implemented to prevent access to the 
mine workings by people, livestock, fish and wildlife, machinery, and to keep possible or 
potential acid or other toxic drainage from entering ground and/or surface waters. 

Sealing and Plugging Drill Holes. Exploration holes, drill holes, boreholes, and wells not 
completed to aquifers would be sealed by replacing cuttings in the hole and placing a suitable 
plug ten feet below the ground surface to support a cement plug to within three feet of ground 
surface, unless otherwise authorized by the land managing agency and/or the Colorado DMG. 

Exploration holes, drill holes or boreholes, or wells completed in aquifers would be sealed using 
bentonite, cement or other suitable sealant, by placing the sealant in the hole from the bottom 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-22 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action September 1999 

to within ten feet of the ground surface. Final sealing of the hole would be accomplished as 
stated in the first paragraph of this section. 

Recontouring and Regrading. The portal facility areas and other disturbed areas would be 
recontoured and regraded as appropriate to achieve an acceptable post-mining topography. 
During this phase of project closure, high traffic areas such as roads would be ripped to 
alleviate compaction. Post-mining surface drainage patterns would be re-established. 

Topsoil Replacement. Following regrading activities, disturbed sites would be covered with 
topsoii material or suitable substitute. Such topsoil or other suitable material would be replaced 
to serve as a rooting zone for revegetation. Soil amendments would be incorporated, as 
needed, to aid in revegetation. 

All sites would be stabilized to maintain safe working conditions by regrading along the contour, 
applying topsoil material along the contour, and/or leaving the regraded surface in a roughened 
configuration to resist wind, water erosion and maximize soil water retention. Surface 
manipulation treatments such as ripping and chiseling along the contour, contour furrows, 
and/or contour terraces would be employed and/or constructed in areas likely to develop rills 
and gullies and in heavily compacted areas. 

Permanent Revegetation. Reseeding would be conducted on disturbed sites with a seed 
mixture used for permanent revegetation. Reseeding would be conducted by appropriate 
application methods such as broadcast-seeding, drill-seeding, or hydro-seeding. 

Mulching. As required for initial stabilization, erosion control materials such as wood fiber 
mulch, straw, or erosion control/mulch blankets would be applied in a separate step following 
seeding. Such mulching practices would be employed as necessary to reduce initial erosion 
and sedimentation. 

Reclamation Maintenance and Monitoring. Newly reclaimed areas would be managed 
consistent with reclamation goals. The sites would be examined periodically during the first 
several years after revegetation to determine the effectiveness of the reclamation program. 
The success of revegetation would be monitored to ensure erosion was prevented and that 
species re-establishment was occurring. Maintenance wouid be conducted on the site as 
necessary to assure site stability and the establishment of the preferred plant species. 

2.9.4 Reclamation Performance Securities 

The statutory and regulatory authority of the BLM, Forest Service, OSM, and the Colorado 
DMG requires the submittal of reclamation performance securities (bonds) to assure that 
adequate reclamation and restoration of disturbed areas are achieved following exploration and 
mining activities. The bond would assure that sufficient monies are available to properly 
reclaim areas disturbed and/or to conduct monitoring or other activities in the event that the 
exploration or mine operator was unable to meet their reclamation obligations. A bond is a 
financial guarantee that would be forfeited to the appropriate agency should the operator 
abandon the site and fail to properly reclaim the site. A bond would provide the agency with 
sufficient funds to complete the necessary reclamation. 

No exploration or mining operations can commence without the execution of a reclamation 
bond with the applicable agencies responsible for reclamation of the sites. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 2 Page 2-23 

2.10 MANAGEMENT AND MITIGATION 

Existing federal and state rules and regulations require extensive mitigation and monitoring to 
mitigate the environmental consequences associated with coal exploration or mine operation. 

Management and mitigation practices are based on federal, state, and local laws and 
regulations, current technology, and best management practices. The objectives of these 
management and mitigation practices would be to reduce or avoid adverse impacts to the 
environment and to reclaim disturbed areas. Implementation of management and mitigation 
measures would primarily be the responsibility of the exploration proponents or mine operators. 
Enforcement of management and mitigation measures would be within the jurisdiction of the 
governmental agencies issuing permits and approvals for such coal exploration or mining 
activities. 

Mitigation measures are either required or proposed in the BLM Unsuitability Criteria Analysis, 
the Forest Service Standard Stipulations, or Chapter 3, Environmental Analysis.. Depending on 
one's perception and resource capabilities, all measures would have a moderate to high degree 
of effectiveness in mitigating impacts. Final mine plans submitted for mine permit approval will 
be designed and reviewed to ensure they address site specific requirements and conditions and 
thereby increase the effectiveness of the mitigation measures. 

2.11 MONITORING MEASURES 

Environmental monitoring programs that meet the requirements of the BLM, Forest Service, 
OSM, and the Colorado DMG would be implemented and maintained as part of mining 
activities. Monitoring would determine the effects of the mining and the efficiency of mitigation 
measures. Monitoring would also provide valuable input to governmental agencies regarding 
project performance. The information gained during monitoring would be used as the basis for 
designing additional mitigation measures, if necessary. The effects analyses in Chapter 3 
incorporate the monitoring that will be required for a mine permit, if the leases are issued (see 
Section 2.10, Management and Mitigation). 

2.1 2 COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES 

This section summarizes the impacts of the alternatives. Environmental consequences of each 
alternative are addressed in Chapter 3, Environmental Analysis. Table 2-4, Summary of 
Impacts by Alternative for Each Issue, compares alternatives to the issues that drove 
alternative development, as well as those issues identified as being important to assess the 
impacts of the alternatives. Issues are identified in Section 1 .8, Issues and Concerns, in 
Chapter 1 , Purpose and Need for Action. 

2.13 PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE 

The preferred alternative is best described as a combination of Alternative B and D. A more 
detailed discussion of the preferred alternative is given in the Executive Summary. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



j 


°age 2-24 Alternatives Including the Proposed Action 


September 1999 














Table 2-4 
Summary of Impacts by Alternative for Each Issue 




Issue/Concern 


Alternative 


A 


B 


C 


D 


AIR QUALITY 


Effects from Fugitive Dust 


None 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Effects from Gaseous Emissions 


None 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Visibility Effects on West Elk 
Wilderness Area 


None 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Visibility Effects on Black Canyon 
of the Gunnison 


None 


Negligible 


Negligible 


Negligible 


AQUATIC RESOURCES/FISHERIES 


Direct Disturbance to Stream 
Channels 


None 


High 


High 


Low 


Reduced Flow 


None 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Low 


Stream Sedimentation 


None 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Low 


Water Quality Degradation 


None 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Impacts to Threatened and 
Endangered Aquatic Species 


None 


Negligible 


Negligible 


Negligible 


CULTURAL RESOURCES 


Impact to Cultural and Historic 
Sites 


None 


None 


None 


None 


GEOLOGY/SUBSIDENCE 


Potential Effect to Curecanti-Rifle 
230/345 kV Electric Transmission 
Line 


None 


None 


None 


None 


Potential Effect to Terror Creek 
Reservoir 


None 


Low 


Low 


Negligible 


Potential Effect to Terror Creek 


None 


High 


High 


Negligible 


Potential Effect to Hubbard Creek 


None 


High 


High 


Negligible 


Potential to Aggravate Landslides 


None 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Land Use 


Acres Disturbed (total) 


Not Applicable 


33.5 


33.5 


33.5 


Land Disturbed by Ownership (%) 

BLM 
► Forest Service 

Private 


Not Applicable 


26 

59 
15 


27 
62 
11 


27 
62 
11 


Noise 


Noise Effects 


Low 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Moderate 












North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 







September 1999 



Chapter 2 



Page 2-25 



Table 2-4 
Summary of Impacts by Alternative for Each Issue 




Issue/Concern 


Alternative 




A 


B 


C 


D 


Recreation 




Disruption to Recreational 
Opportunities in Undeveloped 
Areas 


Not Applicable 


Negligible 


Negligible 


Negligible 


Changes in Recreational Access 
to Undeveloped Areas 


Not Applicable 


Negligible 


Negligible 


Negligible 


Socioeconomics 


Projected Total Life of Mining 

► Iron Point Tract 

► Elk Creek Tract 


1.5* 
3* 


5 
5 


8 
6 


7.5 
6 


* Remaining permitted life of Bowie No. 2 and Sanborn Creek mines under No-Action Alternative. 


Annual Employment During 
Mining 

► Iron Point Tract 

► Elk Creek Tract 


157** 
215** 


168 
215 


168 

215 


168 
215 


** Current employment levels at Bo\ 


vie No. 2 and Sanborn Creek mines. 






Projected Multi-Year Tax 
Revenues for Mining of Iron Point 
and Elk Creek Tracts 
(direct + indirect) 





$88,500,000 


$123,900,00 


$119,475,000 


Projected Federal Coal Royalties 
From Mining Iron Point and Elk 
Creek Tracts 





$35,500,000 


$46,900,000 


$45,225,000 


Surface and Groundwater 


Changes in Surface and 
Groundwater Chemistry 


Not Applicable 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Potential Impact to Terror Creek 
Reservoir 


None 


Low 


Low 


Negligible 


Potential to Alter Downstream 
Flow Rates 


None 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Low 


Transportation 


Average Number of Round Trips 
per Day for North Fork Branch 
Railroad (Cumulative) 


4.4 @ 8.6 million 
tons per year 


10 @ 19.2 
million tons per 
year 


10 @ 19.2 
million tons per 
year 


10 @ 19.2 
million tons per 
year 


Average Number of Round trips 
per Day for Coal Truck haulage 
Between Bowie No. 2 Mine and 
Bowie No. 1 Loadout 


234 @ 1 .2 
million tons per 
year production 


978 @ 5 million 
tons per year 
production 


978 @ 5 million 
tons per year 
production 


978 @ 5 million 
tons per year 
production 


Potential for Accidents at 
Railroad Crossings 


Very Low 


Low 


Low 


Low 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 2-26 



Alternatives Including the Proposed Action 



September 1999 



Table 2-4 
Summary of Impacts by Alternative for Each Issue 


Issue/Concern 


Alternative 


A 


B 


C 


D 


Potential for Accidents on State 
Highway 133 Due to Coal Truck 
Haulage 


Very Low 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Potential for Accidents on State 
Highway by Using Private Haul 
Road, Conveyor or by Moving 
Bowie No. 1 Loadout 


Very Low 


Low 


Low 


Very Low 


Vegetation 


Number of Threatened and 
Endangered Plants Lost 


Not Applicable 











Potential Impact of Noxious 
Weeds 


Not Applicable 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Potential Impact to Sensitive 
Plants 


Not Applicable 


Low to Moderate 


Low to Moderate 


Negligible 


Wetlands 


Potential to Impact 
Wetlands/Riparian Zones 

► Terror Creek 

► Hubbard Creek 


None 
None 


Moderate 
Moderate 


Moderate 
Moderate 


Negligible 
Negligible 


Wildlife (Terrestrial) 


Impacts to Threatened and 
Endangered Terrestrial Wildlife 
Species 


None 


Low 


Low 


Very Low 


Impacts to Deer/Elk Habitat 


None 


Negligible 


Negligible 


Negligible 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 



Page 3-1 



3.0 ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS 



This chapter of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) describes both the existing 
conditions of and the environmental consequences to the area and resources, based on the 
alternatives described in Chapter 2. For ease of presentation and comparison, the analysis 
discussions are separated into individual resource areas, such as air quality, geology, noise, 
wildlife, etc. Although the anticipated environmental effects of alternatives were analyzed for 
each resource discipline, impact analyses emphasize those disciplines that relate to the key 
issues and concerns identified in Chapter 1 , Purpose and Need for Action. Some impacts are 
expressed in qualitative terms, other in quantitative terms. 

Impact descriptions under each resource area are divided into the following categories: 

► Effects Common to All Action Alternatives; 

► Effects of the No-Action Alternative; and 

► Effects Unique to Each Action Alternative. 

Impacts are defined as follows: 

► Direct Impacts - Those effects which occur at the same time and in the same 
general location as the activity causing the effects. 

► Indirect Impacts - Those effects which occur at a different time or different location 
than the activity to which the affects are related. 

- Cumulative Impacts - Those effects which result from the incremental impact of the 
action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future 
actions. 

► Irreversible Commitments - Those commitments that can not be reversed, except 
perhaps in the extreme long term. 

► Irretrievable Commitments - Those commitments that are lost for a period of time. 

The effects analyses in Chapter 3 are based on reasonably foreseeable development scenarios 
discussed in Section 2.2, Formulation of Alternatives, for the lease tracts and the exploration 
license area. For the lease tracts, potential effects consider impacts related to subsidence as 
presented in Appendix K, Subsidence Evaluation. The subsidence evaluation was completed 
assuming "best estimate" mining scenarios (reasonably foreseeable development). 

Mitigation measures to be implemented for any exploration or mining activity are addressed in 
Chapter 2, Alternatives Including the Proposed Action. By design, each alternative has built-in 
mitigation in the form of standard and special stipulations that would be added to any lease or 
license. Effective mitigation avoids, minimizes, rectifies, reduces, or compensates for potential 
impacts. After mitigation is applied, any unavoidable adverse impacts to each resource area 
are addressed. Based on the impact analysis for the individual resource areas with this 
Chapter 3, additional mitigation measures are listed which could further reduce environmental 
impacts should exploration and mining be conducted. 



Page 3-2 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.1 AIR QUALITY/CLIMATE 

Issue: Identify and minimize air quality impacts. Areas of concern include: the effects on air 
quality from fugitive dust and gaseous emissions; air quality impacts (visibility on the West Elk 
Wilderness Area, and cumulative air quality effects. 

3.1.1 Introduction 

This section describes the following items related to air quality: 

► Regional climate and existing air quality; 

► Air quality regulations that apply to the mining operations and railroad; 

- Industrial operations conducted by Bowie and Oxbow that are permitted by the 
Colorado Air Pollution Control Division (APCD); 

► Project-related emission rates from mining activities, haul trucks, diesel mine 
equipment, trains, and public vehicles traveling through the project area along State 
Highway 133; 

► Ambient air quality impacts adjacent to the existing mine sites; 

► Health effects and odor impacts at areas near the mining operations and along the 
railroad tracks; 

► Air quality impacts to the nearby West Elk Wilderness Area; and 

► Greenhouse gases emitted by the mining operations. 

3.1 .2 Affected Environment and Air Quality Regulations 
3.1.2.1 Regional Climate 

Temperature and precipitation data for the Paonia area are listed in Table 3. 1-1, Temperature 
and Precipitation Data for Paonia, Colorado. Precipitation amounts are generally believed to 
increase to the east. The mountain valleys on the western side of the Rockies are subject to 
large ranges in precipitation and temperature conditions. Low precipitation amounts are normal 
during all seasons. Low summer precipitation, along with high temperatures and low humidity 
produce conditions favorable for wind erosion. Summertime rain is often associated with 
passing thunderstorms. Temperatures above 100°F are infrequent. Prolonged cold conditions 
are common in the mountain valleys, and result when cold dense air fills the valleys. 

Annual wind distributions at Somerset (for the West Elk Mine monitoring station) are presented 
as an annual wind rose in Figure 8, Wind Rose for West Elk Mine. This wind rose depicts the 
joint frequency of occurrence, in percentage, of wind speed and wind direction categories for a 
particular location and time period. The radials of the wind rose indicate the direction from 
which the wind is blowing. The length of the radials indicates the frequency of occurrence for 
that direction, and the width of the radials indicates the wind speed class. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-3 



Table 3.1-1 
Temperature and Precipitation Data for Paonia, Colorado 


Month 


Precipitation 
(in) 


Temperature 
(°F) 


January 


1.08 


24.9 


February 


1.03 


31.6 


March 


1.38 


39.3 


April 


1.28 


47.4 


May 


1.34 


56.8 


June 


0.84 


66.1 


July 


1.14 


72.6 


August 


1.21 


70.5 


September 


1.48 


62.0 


October 


1.61 


51.3 


November 


1.36 


38.7 


December 


1.42 


28.2 


Annual 


15.17 


49.1 


Data Source: National Climatic Data Center 

Period of Record: 1976 through 1998 



The wind rose shown in Figure 8, Wind Rose for West Elk Mine, displays a wind pattern that is 
common for a narrow river valley. Strong persistent winds blow along the valley, and weak 
infrequent winds blow across the valley. The prevailing winds blew up-valley or down-vailey 
with a high wind speed (3.8 meters/second average). Cross-valley winds blowing southward 
toward the West Elk Wilderness were infrequent (less than 2% frequency of occurrence) with a 
low speed (2.5 meters per second). The average wind speed for all directions was 3.6 meters 
per second. 

3.1 .2.2 Ambient Air Quality Standards 

The Federal Clean Air Act required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set 
ambient air quality standards (AAQS) to protect the public health and welfare. Standards to 
protect public health (primary standards) were developed to protect the most sensitive 
individuals and allow a margin of safety. When a health-based primary standard does not 
protect public property or resources (for example, ensuring that dust concentrations are low 
enough to prevent damage to crops or soiling of buildings), a secondary standard was 
established which is more restrictive than the primary standard. 

Applicable AAQS are listed in Table 3. 1-2, Ambient Air Quality Standards. Air quality standards 
have been established for carbon monoxide (CO), lead (Pb), particulate matter with 
aerodynamic diameters less than 10 micrometers (PM 10 ), nitrogen dioxide (NOj), ozone (0 3 ), 
and sulfur dioxide (SO^. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-4 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.1-2 
Ambient Air Quality Standards 


Pollutant 


National 


Colorado 


Primary 


Secondary 


Proposed Fine Particulate Matter (PM25) (Mg/m 3 ) 


Annual arithmetic average 


15 


15 


15 


24-hour average 


65 


65 


65 


Fine Particulate Matter (PM25) (ug/m 3 ) 


Annual arithmetic average 1 


50 


50 


50 


24-hour average 


150 


150 


150 


Carbon Monoxide (ppm) 


8-hour average 


9 


9 


10 


1 -hour average 2 


35 


35 


40 


Ozone (ppm) 


8-hour average 


0.08 


0.08 


0.08 


1 -hour average 


0.12 


0.12 


0.12 


Sulfur Dioxide (ppm) 


Annual average 


0.03 


0.02 


0.006 


24-hour average 


0.14 




0.038 


3-hour average 




0.05 


0.267 


Lead (Mg/m 3 ) 


Calendar quarter average 


1.5 




1.5 


Nitrogen Dioxide (ppm) 


Annual Average 


0.053 


0.053 


0.05 


Source: 40 CFR Part 50 
Notes: ppm = parts per million 

(Mg/m 3 ) = micrograms per cubic meter 

Annual standards never to be exceeded, shorter-term standards not to be exceeded more than once 

per year unless noted. 

► Standard attained when expected number of days per year with a 24-hour concentration above 
150 Mg/m 3 is less than or equal to one. 

► Standard attained when expected number of days per year with an hourly average above 0.12 
ppm is less than or equal to one. 



Primary and secondary standards have been established for particulate matter that can be 
respired by humans. A number of published studies suggest that premature mortality, hospital 
admissions, and respiratory illnesses occur at concentrations below the PM 10 standards. In 
1997, EPA revised the particulate matter standards by adopting new standards for particles 
smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM 10 ). The PM 10 standards are currently under development, 
and do not yet apply to any facilities. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



3.1.2.3 Regional Air Quality 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-5 



The air quality in Delta and Gunnison counties is generally god and achieves ail state and 
national AAQS, based on information from the nearest air pollution monitoring stations. The 
second highest 24-hour and annual average PM 10 concentrations measured at Delta, Colorado 
for 1993 through 1998 are presented in Table 3. 1-3, Ambient PMw Concentrations at Delta, 
Colorado. The monitoring station is located in Delta which is more densely populated than the 
Paonia/Somerset area, and monitoring data from Delta may not be representative of air quality 
at Paonia. Windblown dust and wood stoves are believed to be the most prevalent air pollutant 
emission sources in the region, so the state operates monitors for only PM10 in Delta and 
Gunnison counties. 



Table 3.1-3 
Ambient PM10 Concentrations in Delta, Colorado 


Year 


PM10 Concentration (^g/m 3 ) 


Second Highest 
24-hour 


Annual 
Average 


1993 


70 


29.5 


1994 


69 


31.5 


1995 


67 


24.4 


1996 


No Data 


25.6 


1997 


55 


23.1 


1998 


40 


22.8 



Average visibility in Delta and Gunnison counties is typically about 100 miles with greatest 
visibility occurring during spring and summer months. The Paonia-Somerset area of the North 
Fork of the Gunnison River has been designated as a Prevention of Significant Deterioration 
(PSD) Class II area. PSD Class II areas are those that may be developed, and the release of 
limited concentrations of certain pollutants over Class II PSD increments is permitted as long as 
AAQS is maintained and emissions are within the PSD Class II increment. The nearest PSD 
Class I area (an area where little air quality deterioration is allowed) is the West Elk Wilderness, 
located approximately 1 miles south-southeast of the Somerset area. Another PSD Class I 
area in the region is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument, located 
approximately 26 miles to the southwest of the Somerset area. 

3.1 .2.4 Air Permitting Requirements for Industrial Sources 

All industrial sources in Colorado must receive an Air Pollution Emission Notice (APEN) permit 
from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, APCD before they begin to 
construct any new processes or expand any existing processes. The APEN permit specifies 
the following requirements: 

► Type of equipment that is permitted to be installed; 

► Type of pollution control equipment that is required; 

► The types of emission monitoring and testing that are required; 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-6 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

► Allowable production rate; and 

► Allowable emission rates. 

The Bowie and Oxbow mining operations near Paonia have either applied for or already 
received their APEN permits to expand their coal production rates to the values specified in 
Chapter 2, Alternatives Including the Proposed Actions. 

3.1.2.5 Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permitting (Not Required 
for Bowie Resources or Oxbow Mining) 

Colorado APCD imposes stringent requirements for large industrial sources under the PSD 
program. PSD permitting applies only to industrial facilities that emit more than 250 tons per 
year of PM10, NOx, or S02 from stationary, non-fugitive dust sources. 

None of the coal mining facilities in the North Fork of the Gunnison River area are subject to 
PSD permitting, because none of them generate enough non-fugitive emissions to trigger PSD. 

3.1.2.6 Federal Emission Standards for Locomotives and Non-Road 
Diesel Engines 

EPA has enacted regulations that will require diesel locomotives and large diesel mine 
equipment to reduce their emissions. The required improvements are designed to reduce the 
emissions of NOx by about 33 percent. The retrofits are not required immediately. Instead, the 
regulations require modifications to the locomotives when they are next refurbished after their 
normal operating life cycle (approximately 750,000 miles of operation). The impact 
assessments for this EIS were completed assuming that no diesel locomotives have been 
modified to meet the new emission standards. 

3.1.3 Environmental Consequences 
3.1.3.1 Summary 

The air quality impacts are summarized as follows: 

► Due to anticipated increased coal production from the coal mines in the North Fork of 
the Gunnison River area, emissions from regional mining operations and coal trains 
are expected to increase for the "No-Action" and "Action" alternatives. 

► The action alternatives would increase local emissions of particulate matter and 
tailpipe exhaust by about 7 to 8 percent compared to ihe No-Action Alternative. 

► All of the regional mines are regulated by the Colorado APCD. Particulate emissions 
from the mines are minimized by use of conventional air pollution control equipment. 

- Based on air dispersion modeling, it is concluded that dust emissions from the mines 
do not cause any ambient air quality impacts. 

► Based on computer modeling, it is concluded that the incremental increases in 
particulate emissions and gaseous emissions resulting from the action alternatives 
would not cause any consequential acid deposition or visibility impacts at the nearby 
West Elk Wilderness Area. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 



Page 3-7 



3.1.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

Under the No-Action Alternative, the three local mines are assumed to operate at the following 
production rates: 

Bowie No. 2 Mine 2 million tons per year 

Oxbow Mining 5 million tons per year 

Mountain Coal, West Elk Mine 8.2 million tons per year 

Combined Production 15.2 million tons per year 

The estimated emissions for this alternative are listed in the following tables: 

> Table 3. 1-4, Summary of PMw Emissions from Local Mines 

- Table 3. 1-5, Tailpipe Emissions for No Action Including Cumulative Impacts 

For this alternative the following air quality impacts would occur: 

increased Mine Emissions. Particulate emissions from the Bowie, Oxbow and West Elk 
mines would increase by a combined 131 tons per year compared to levels in the year 1998. 
The mines are regulated by Colorado APCD, so ambient PM10 concentrations in the immediate 
vicinity of those mines would increase slightly but would not exceed the AAQS. 

Increased Railroad Emissions. There would be an additional 524 coal trains per year 
operating at the combined Bowie, Oxbow and West Elk Mines compared to 1998 levels. These 
trains would add 106 tons per year of NOx compared to the estimated levels for 1998 (the 
estimated 1999 baseline emissions are listed in Table 3. 1-4, Summary of PMw Emissions from 
Regional Mines, and Table 3. 1-6, Tailpipe Emissions for Year 1998 Actual Baseline). The 
increased emissions from the additional trains would be spread out over the entire 30-mile rail 
line between Somerset and Delta, so there would be no concentrated increase in the ambient 
air concentrations along the rail line. 

3.1 .3.3 Effects Common to All Alternatives 

The following air quality impacts are common to all of the action alternatives: 

► The continuation and possible increase in coal production at the Bowie No. 2, Oxbow 
Elk Creek Mine, and the West Elk Mine would cause minor increases in particulate 
emissions directly from the mining operations. 

«• The projected elevated and/or maximum levels of coal production from the Bowie 
No. 2 Mine, the Oxbow Elk Creek Mine, and the West Elk Mine, would result in 
increased coal train usage (see Section 3.14, Transportation). The increased 
exhaust emissions from the diesel locomotives would not be expected to cause any 
concentrated air quality impacts along the rail line. 

3.1 .3.4 Effects of Alternative B Including Cumulative Impacts 

Coal Production by Regional Mines. For purposes of this section, the three local mines in 
the North Fork Valley are assumed to operate at the following production rates. (For Oxbow, a 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-8 


Environmental Analysis 


September 1999 












Table 3.1-4 
Summary of PM Emissions From Regional Mines 




Facility 


Annual Production 
(million tons per year) 


PM-10 Emission 

Factor 
(lbs/ton of coal) 


Annual PM-10 

Emissions 

(tons) 


Year 1988 Actual Baseline Emissions 


Bowie No. 2 Mine 


1.2 


0.0558 


33.5 


Bowie No. 1 Loadout 


1.2 


0.0016 


1.0 


Oxbow Mining 


1.5 


0.0259 


19.4 


Mountain Coal (West Elk) 


5.9 


0.041 


120.5 


Regional Total 


174 


Baseline Emissions Assuming Oxbow Operated at Planned Capacity 


Bowie No. 2 Mine 


1.2 


0.0558 


33.5 


Bowie No. 1 Loadout 


1.2 


0.0016 


1.0 


Oxbow Mining 


5 


0.259 


64.8 


Mountain Coal (West Elk) 


5.9 


0.041 


120.5 


Regional Total 


220 


No-Action Including Cumulative impacts by Mountain Coal 


Bowie No. 2 Mine 


2 


0.0558 


55.8 


Bowie No. 1 Loadout 


2 


0.0016 


1.6 


Oxbow Mining 


5 


0.0259 


64.8 


Mountain Coal (West Elk) 


8.2 


0.0409 


167.5 


Regional Total 


290 


Proposed Project Including Cumulative Impacts by Mountain Coal 


Bowie No. 2 Mine 


5 


0.06138 


153.5 


Bowie No. 1 Loadout 


5 


0.0016 


4.0 


Oxbow Mining 


5 


0.0259 


64.8 


Mountain Coal (West Elk) 


8.2 


0.0409 


167.7 


Regional Total 


390 


Emission Factor Sources: 

Bowie Resources: Allowable emission rates from most recent air quality permits 

Bowie No. 2 Proposed Project: Assume 10% increase above current permits to account for possible 

increase in hauling along paved roads. 

Oxbow Mining: Allowable emission rates from most recent air quality permits. 

Mountain Coal: Assumed to be the average of Bowie Resources + Oxbow Mining. 










North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 





I 



s 

s. 
3 

3 

3 

3 

&> 
O 
■•* 

CO 

Si- 
fir 

3 

(0 

3 



Table 3.1-5 
Tailpipe Emissions for No-Action Including Cumulative Impact 


Item 


Aggregate 


Use 

(hrs/yr) 


Annual 
Usage 

(bhp/yr) 


NOx 
Emission 
Factor (g/hp- 
hr) 


TSP 

Emission 

Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


S02 

Emission 
Factor (g/hp-hr) 


Annual 

NOx 
(tons/yr) 


Annual 

PMio 
(tons/yr) 


Annual 

S02 

(tons/yr) 


In-Mine Diesel-Powered Vehicles 


Bowie Mine 
@ 2 mm tpy 


5,430 


4000 


2.2E+07 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


155 


4 


17 


Oxbow Mine 
@ 5 mm tpy 


5,430 


4000 


2.2E+07 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


155 


4 


17 


Mtn. Coal @ 
8.2 mm tpy 


5,430 


6560 


3.6+07 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


255 


6 


27 


Regional Total 


565 


14 


61 


Item 


Quantity 


HP 


Hr/yr 


HP-hr/yr 




Bowie No. 2 Mine Above-Ground Equipment 




D-9 Dozer 


1 


405 


4722 


1.9E+06 




D-10 Dozer 




570 




O.OE+00 




980 Loader 


1 


300 


8111 


2.4E+06 




Total 


4.3E+06 




Combined Bulldozers 

and 

Front-End Loaders 


Annual 
Usage 

(bhp-hr/yr) 


NOx Emission 
Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


TSP Emission 
Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


S02 Emission 
Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


Annual 
NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
PM10 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
SO2 

(tons/yr) 


Above-Ground Diesel Equipment 


Bowie Mine @ 2 mm tpy 


4,345,833 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


31 


7 


3 


Oxbow Mine @ 5 mm tpy 


10,858,507 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


78 


2 


8 


Mtn. Coal @ 8.2 mm tpy 


17,807,961 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


127 


3 


14 


Regional Total 


236 


13 


25 



0) 









Table 3.1-5 
Tailpipe Emissions for No-Action Including Cumulative Impact (continued) 


Item 


Round 

Trips Per 

Year 


RT Dlst 
(miles) 


Annual 
Usage 


NOx 

Emission 

Factor 

(g/vmt) 


PM10 

Emission 

Factor for 

Paved Road 

Dust 

(g/vmt) 


S02 

Emission 
Factor 
(g/vmt) 


Annual 

NOx 
(tons/yr) 


Annual 

PMio 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 

SO2 
(tons/yr) 


Bowie Mine Coal Haul Trucks at 2 Million Tons per Year Coal Production 


Coal trucks @ 28 tons 
per truck 


71,429 


5 


357,143 


11.44 


49.2 


5.7 


4.5 


19.4 


2.2 


Coal Trains Between Mine Site and Hotchkiss (Bowie at 2 Million TPY; Oxbow at 5 Million TPY; West Elk at 8.2 TPY) 


Item 


Number 

of Annual 

Trips 


Cycle 
Time 
(hrs) 


Annual Usage 
for Dual 

Locomotive at 
2,000 hp 
Average 
(bhp-hrs7yr) 


NOx 

Emission 

Factor 

(g/bhp-hr) 


PMio 

Emission 

Factor for 

Paved Road 

Dust 

(g/bhp-hr) 


S02 

Emission 
Factor 

(g/bhp-hr) 


Annual 
NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 

PM10 
(tons/yr) 


Annual 
SO2 

(tons/yr) 


Bowie Mine Line Haul 


190 


3 


2,285,714 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


30 


1 


2 


Oxbow Mine Line Haul 


476 


3.5 


6,666,667 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


95 


2 


5 


West Elk Line Haul 


781 


4 


12,495,238 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


179 


4 


10 


Switch Mode During 
Coal Loading (1,00Ohp) 


1448 


3 


4,342,857 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


62 


2 


3 


Regional Total 


1,448 




307 


8 


17 




GRAND TOTAL 3 MINES 








Annual NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual PMio 

(tons/yr) 


Annual SO2 

(tons/yr) 






In-Mine Vehicles 


566 


14 


61 






Above-Ground Vehicles 


236 


6 


25 






Haul trucks 


4 


19 


2 






Coal Trucks 


307 


8 


17 






Total 


1114 


47 


105 





North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 




£ 

I 
5 


Table 3.1-6 
Tailpipe Emissions for Year 1998 Actual Baseline 




Item 


Aggregate 


Use 

(hrs/yr) 


Annual 
Usage 

(bb-hr7yr) 


NOx 
Emission 
Factor (g/hp- 
hr) 


TSP 

Emission 

Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


S02 

Emission 
Factor (g/hp-hr) 


Annual 
NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
PM10 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
SO2 

(tons/yr) 


ST 

-A 


In-Mine Diesel-Powered Vehicles 




Bowie Mine 
@ 1.2 mm tpy 


5,430 


4000 


2.2E+07 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


155 


4 


17 




Oxbow Mine 
@ 1.5 mm tpy 


5,430 


4000 


2.2E+07 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


155 


4 


17 




Mtn. Coal @ 7 
mm Ipy 


5,430 


5600 


3.0E+07 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


218 


5 


23 




Regional Total 


529 


13 


57 




Item 


Quantity 


HP 


Hr/yr 


HP-hr/yr 






o 


Bowie No. 2 Mine Above-Ground Equipment at Nominal 1.5 mm tpy 






D-9 Dozer 


1 


405 


4250 


1.7E+06 


to 


D-10 Dozer 




570 




0.0E+00 


980 Loader 


1 


300 


7300 


2.2E+06 




Total 


3.9E+06 








Combined Bulldozers 

and 

Front-End Loaders 


Annual 
Usage 

(bhp-hr/yr) 


NOx Emission 
Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


TSP Emission 
Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


S02 Emission 
Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


Annual 
NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 

PM10 
(tons/yr) 


Annual 

S02 

(tons/yr) 






Above-Ground Diesel Equipment 




Bowie Mine @ 1.2 mm tpy 


3,129,000 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


22 


1 


2 




Oxbow Mine @ 1 .5 mm tpy 


3,911,250 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


28 


1 


3 




Mtn. Coal @ 7 mm tpy 


14,602,000 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


105 


3 


11 


J 


Regional Total 


155 


4 


17 









































Table 3.1-6 
Tailpipe Emissions for Year 1998 Actual Baseline 


Item 


Round 

Trips Per 

Year 


RT DIst 
(miles) 


Annual 
Usage 


NOx 

Emission 

Factor 

(g/vmt) 




PM10 

Emission 

Fetor for 

Paved Road 

Dust 

(g/vmt) 


S02 

Emission 
Factor 
(g/vmt) 


Annual 

NOx 
(tons/yr) 


Annual 

PM10 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 

SO 2 
(tons/yr) 


Bowie Mine Coal Haul Trucks at 1 .2 Million Tons per Year Coal Production 






Coal trucks @ 28 tons 
per truck 


42,857 


5 


214,286 


11.44 


49.2 


5.7 


2.7 


11.6 


1.3 


Coal Trains Between Mine Site and Delta (Bowie at 1.2 Million TPY; Oxbow at 1.5 Million TPY; West Elk at 7 TPY) 


Item 


Number 

of Annual 

Trips 


Cycle 
Time 
(hrs) 


Annual Usage 
for Dual 

Locomotive at 
2,000 hp 
Average 
(bhp-hrs/yr) 


NOx 

Emission 

Factor 

(g/bhp-hr) 


PM10 

Emission 

Factor for 

Paved Road 

Dust 

(g/bhp-hr) 


S02 

Emission 
Factor 

(g/bhp-hr) 


Annual 
NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
PM10 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
SO2 

(tons/yr) 


Bowie Mine Line Haul 


114 


3 


1,371,429 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


20 





1 


Oxbow Mine Line Haul 


143 


3.5 


2,000,000 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


29 


1 


2 


West Elk Line Haul 


667 


4 


10,666,667 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


153 


4 


8 


Switch Mode During 
Coal Loading (1 ,000 hp) 


924 


3 


2,771 ,429 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


40 


1 


2 


Regional Total 


1,448 




201 


5 


11 




GRAND TOTAL 3 MINES 








Annual NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual PM10 
(tons/yr) 


Annual SO2 

(tons/yr) 






In-Mine Vehicles 


529 


13 


57 






Above-Ground Vehicles 


155 


4 


17 






Haul trucks 


3 


12 


1 






Coal Trucks 


201 


5 


11 






Total 


887 


33 


86 





September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-13 



range of 4 to 6 million tons per year was identified in the alternatives. An average of 5 million 
tons per year was used for the analysis in this section.) 



Bowie No. 2 Mine 

Oxbow Mining 

Mountain Coal, West Elk Mine 

Combined Production 



5 million tons per year 
5 million tons per year 
8.2 million tons per year 
18.2 million tons per year 



Bowie and Oxbow have applied for APEN air quality permits to allow the full production rates 
listed above, and Colorado APCD has issued draft permits. If Oxbow expanded to 6 million 
tons per year, the company would have to revise its APEN air quality permit. 

The mining equipment that is permitted to operate at the two mines is listed in: 

► Table 3.1-7, Permitted Mining Processes at Bowie Resources 

> Table 3. 1-8, Permitted Mining Processes at Oxbow Mining 

Emissions From Mines, Trains, and Vehicles. The emission rates from the mining 
operations, haul trucks operating between the Bowie No. 2 Mine and the Bowie No. 1 Loadout, 
exhaust emissions from the coal trains operating at the three mines, and emissions from non- ' 
project vehicles driven through the area along State Highway 133 are listed in the following 
tables: 

- Table 3. 1-4, Summary of PMw Emissions From Regional Mines 

- Table 3. 1-9, Tailpipe Emissions for Proposed Action Including Cumulative Impacts 

> Table 3.1-10, Estimated Emissions from Non-Project Vehicles Along State Highway 
133 

► Table 3.1-11, Emission Increases for Proposed Action and No-Action 

The overall emissions from the proposed actions and the net emission increase between the 
action alternatives and the No-Action Alternative are as follows: 



Scenario 


PM10 

Emissions 

(tons/yr) 


NOx 

Emissions 

(tons/yr) 


S02 

Emissions 
(tons/yr) 


Year 2003 Proposed Project, Including Cumulative 
Impact from West Elk Mine Expansion and Non- 
Project Traffic on Highway 133 


1,758 


2,045 


110 


Emission Increase (Action Alternatives vs. No-Action) 


131 


107 


12 


Emission Increase (Action Alternative vs Year 1 998) 


263 


363 


31 



Ambient Air Quality Impacts Near Bowie No. 2 Mine and Oxbow Mine. The mines are 
regulated by Colorado APCD and are required to use well-operated emission control devices to 
minimize particulate emissions from process vents. Each mine is required to control fugitive 
dust by frequent watering during dry weather and by minimizing the size of storage piles. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-14 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.1-7 
Permitted Mining Processing at Bowie Resources 


Permit No. 


Description of 
Processing Unit 


Control 
Device 


Permitted 
Annual Coal 
Throughput 

(tons/yr) 


Permitted 

PM10 

Emissions 

(tons/yr) 


Bowie No. 2 Mine 


96DL103-1 


Allis Mineral Systems Screen 
(1500lph)S/N:90KA09493 


Spray Bars 


5,000,000 


5.25 


96DL103-4 


Coal loadout silo facility 


Fully Enclosed 


5,000,000 


0.86 


96DL103-6 


Jeffrey model 61 1 flex tooth 
crusher (800 iph) 


Spray Bars 


2,500,000 


1.80 


96DL103-7F 


Above-ground fugitive emission 
producing activities 






4.69 


General above-ground fugitives 


5,000,000 


1 1 1 .02 


GOB hauling 


5,000,000 




Finished Product Stockpiles (coal) 


350,000 




Finished Product Stockpiles (stoker coal) 


5,000 




raw Material Stockpiles (coal) 


60,000 




Raw Material Stockpiles (GOB) 


15,000 




98DL0726 


Ventillation shat w/blower rated at 
850,000 cfm 




5,000,000 


13.95 


Total Permitted PM10 Emissions 


123.6 


Bowie No. 1 Loadout Truck Dump and Rail Car Loading 


1 1 DL252-6 


Truck dump station 


Mikropul Model No. 

336KTR-10 

baghouse 


5,000,000 


0.035 


1 1 DL252-7 


Silos 1-3 


Mikropul Model No. 
64STR- 10-20 
baghouse 


5,000,000 


0.11 


11DL252-10 


Rail car loading facility 


Mikropul Model No. 
144 STR- 10-20 
baghouse 


5,000,000 


3.67 


Total Permitted PM10 Emissions 


0.5 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 







Table 3.1-8 
Permitted Mining Processes at Oxbow Mining 




Permit No. 


Description of 
Processing Unit 


Permitted 
Annual Coal 
Throughput 


PM10 

Emissions 

(tons/yr) 




Mining Related Process Sources 








Sanborn Creek Mine 


4,8000,000 tons 


0.438 




Elk Creek Mine 


4,800,000 tons 


0.146 




Stacking Tubes 


2,400,000 tons 


0.111 




Loading Related Process Sources 








Reclaim Tunnell 


960,000 tons 


0.075 




Screening Plant 


4,800,000 tons 


1.12 




Dump Station 


4,800,000 tons 


0.157 




Crusher 


4,800,000 tons 


0.29 




Crusher Bypass to Train Loadout 


4,800,000 tons 


0.186 




Miscellaneous 


9,125 tons 


0.0125 




Fugitive Sources 








Stacking Tube Stockpile 




24.2 




Temporary Stockpiles 


1 .72 acres 


10.4 




Hauling 


1 1 ,095 VMT* 


2.46 




West Valley Fill 




1.941 




Existing Rock Fill Area 


1.21 acres 


0.17 




Construction Related 




13.63 


Grand Total Permitted PM10 Emissions 


55.34 


* VMT = Vehicle 


Miles Traveled 





Wort/7 Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Table 3.1-9 
Tailpipe Emissions for Proposed Action Including Cumulative Impact 


Item 


Aggregate 


Use 

(hrs/yr) 


Annual 
Usage 

(bhp-hr/yr) 


NOx 
Emission 
Factor (g/hp- 
hr) 


TSP 

Emission 

Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


S02 

Emission 
Factor (g/hp-hr) 


Annual 
NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
PMio 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 

S02 

(tons/yr) 


In-Mlne Diesel-Powered Vehicles 


Bowie Mine 
@ 5mm tpy 


5,430 


4000 


2.2E+07 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


155 


4 


17 


Oxbow Mine 
@ 5 mm tpy 


5,430 


4000 


2.2E+07 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


155 


4 


17 


Mtn. Coal @ 
6.2 tpy 


5,430 


656 


3.6+07 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


255 


6 


27 


Regional Total 


566 


14 


61 


Item 


Quantity 


HP 


Hr/yr 


HP-hr/yr 




Bowie No. 2 Mine Above-Ground Equipment at Nominal 1.5 mm tpy 




D-9 Dozer 





405 





0.0E+00 




D-10 Dozer 


2 


570 


5256 


6.0E+06 




980 Loader 


2 


300 


8111 


4.9E+06 




Total 


1.1E+07 




Combined Bulldozers 

and 

Front-End Loaders 


Annual 
Usage 

(bhp-hr/yr) 


NOx Emission 
Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


TSP Emission 
Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


SC-2 Emission 
Factor 

(g/hp-hr) 


Annual 
NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
PM10 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
SO2 

(tons/yr) 


Above-Ground Diesel Equipment 


Bowie Mine @ 5 mm tpy 


10,858,507 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


78 


2 


8 


Oxbow Mine @ 5 mm tpy 


10,858,507 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


78 


2 


8 


Mtn. Coal @ 8.2 mm tpy 


17,807,951 


6.5 


0.16 


0.7 


127 


3 


14 


Regional Total 


2B3 


7 


30 



I 

I 

5- 

o 
o 

6) 



J 

S" 

3 

3 
a 

sr 

I 

6) 

(/> 
g 

3 
a 



Table 3.1-9 
Tailpipe Emissions for Proposed Action Including Cumulative Impact 


Item 


Round 

Trips Per 

Year 


RT Dist 
(miles) 


Annual 
Usage 
(vmtyr) 


NOx 

Emission 

Factor 

(g/vmt) 


PMio 

Emission 

Fetor for 

Paved Road 

Dust 

(g/vmt) 


S02 

Emission 
Factor 

(g/vmt) 


Annual 

NOx 
(tons/yr) 


Annual 

PM10 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 

SO 2 
(tons/yr) 


Bowie Mine Coal Haul Trucks at 5.2 Million Tons per Year Coal Production 


Coal trucks @ 28 tons 
per truck 


178,571 


5 


892,857 


11.44 


49.2 


5.7 


11.2 


48.4 


5.6 


Coal Trains Between Mine Site and Delta (Bowie at 5 Million TPY; Oxbow at 5 Million TPY; West Elk at 8.2 TPY) 


Item 


Number 

of Annual 

Trips 


Cycle 
Time 
(hrs) 


Annual Usage 
for Dual 

Locomotive at 
2,000 hp 
Average 
(bhp-hrs/yr) 


NOx 

Emission 

Factor 

(g/bhp-hr) 


PMio 

Emission 

Factor for 

Paved Road 

Dust 

(g/bhp-hr) 


S02 

Emission 
Factor 

(g/bhp-hr) 


Annual 
NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 

PM10 

(tons/yr) 


Annual 
SO2 

(tons/yr) 


Bowie Mine Line Haul 


476 


3 


5,714,286 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


82 


2 


4 


Oxbow Mine Line Haul 


476 


3.5 


6,666,667 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


95 


2 


5 


West Elk Line Haul 


781 


4 


12,495,238 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


179 


4 


10 


Switch Mode During 
Coal Laoding (1 ,000 hp) 


1733 


3 


5,200,000 


13.0 


0.32 


0.70 


74 


2 


4 


Regional Total 


1,733 




356 


9 


19 




GRAND TOTAL 3 MINES 








Annual NOx 

(tons/yr) 


Annual PMio 

(tons/yr) 


Annual SO2 

(tons/yr) 






In-Mine Vehicles 


566 


14 


61 






Above-Ground Vehicles 


283 


7 


30 






Haul trucks 


11 


48 


6 






Coal Trucks 


356 


9 


19 






Total 


1216 


78 


116 

















Table 3.1-10 
Estimated Emissions From Non-Project Vehicles Along Highway 133 


Road Segment 


Highway 

Distance 

(miles) 


ADT 
(Veh/day) 


Cars 
(Assume 85% of ADT) 


Medium Diesel 

Trucks 

(Assume 10% of ADT) 


Heavy Diesel 

Trucks 

(Assume 5% of ADT) 


Total 

Emissions 
From 
Highway 133 


Count 


VMT/day 


Count 


VMT/day 


Count 


VMT/day 


Delta-Austin 


6.4 


12,600 


10,710 


68,544 


1,260 


8,064 


630 


4,032 




Austin-Hotchkiss 


14.4 


5,400 


4,590 


66,096 


540 


7,776 


270 


3,888 




Hotchkiss-Somerset 


20.8 


3,150 


2,678 


55,692 


315 


6,552 


158 


3,276 




Somerset-West Elk 


3 


2,000 


1,700 


5,100 


200 


600 


100 


300 




Regional Total 








195,432 




22,992 




1 1 ,496 




NOx EF, gA/MT 








2.0 




5.0 




11.4 




Road Dust EF, gA/MT 








1.05 




11.7 




87 




SO2 EF, gA/MT 













1 




5.7 




NOx Emission tons/yr 








157.12 




46.21 




52.68 


256 


Road Dust tons/yr 








82.49 




108.14 




402.04 


593 


SO2 Emission, tons/yr 












9.24 




26.34 


36 


Basis: Year 1 996 ADT Vehicle Counts From Colorado Department of Transportation 
Emission Factors: EPA MOBIL4 and AP-42 Section 13.2.1 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-19 



Table 3.1-11 
Emission Increase for Proposed Action and No-Action 


Source 


Year 1998 Baseline 
(mm tpy) 


No-Action 
(mm tpy) 


Proposed Action 
(mm tpy) 


Coal Production Rates 


Bowie 


1.2 


2 


5 


Oxbow 


1.5 


5 


5 


West Elk 


5.9 


8.2 


8.2 


Total 


8.5 


15.2 


18.2 


Grand Total Regional Emissions: NOx 


West Elk Mine 


496 


600 


600 


Oxbow Mine 


222 


348 


348 


Bowie Resources 


208 


233 


341 


Highway 133 


256 


256 


256 


Regional Industrial/Agric. 


200 


200 


200 


Urban Areas (Delta, 
Hotchkiss, Paonia) 


300 


300 


300 


Total 


1,682 


1,937 


2,045 


Grand Total Regional Emissions: PM10 


West Elk Mine 


129 


181 


181 


Oxbow Mine 


25 


73 


73 


Bowie Resources 


51 


82 


214 


Highway 133 


590 


590 


590 


Regional Industrial/Agric. 


500 


500 


500 


Urban Areas (Delta, 
Hotchkiss, Paonia 


200 


200 


200 


Total 


1,495 


1,626 


1,758 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-20 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.1-11 
Emission Increases for Proposed Action and No-Action 


Source 


PM10 


NOx 


S02 


Proposed 
Action 
Minus 
No- 
Action 


Proposed 

Action 

Minus Year 

1998 

Baseline 

(includes 

cumulative 

impacts) 


Proposed 
Action 
Minus 
No- 
Action 


Proposed 

Action 

Minus Year 

1998 

Baseline 

(includes 

cumulative 

impacts) 


Proposed 
Action 
Minus 
No- 
Action 


Proposed 

Action 

Minus 

Year 1998 

Baseline 

(includes 

cumulativ 

e impacts) 


Emission Increases Input to Models (tons/year) 


West Elk Mine 





52 





69 





6 


Oxbow Mine 





48 





68 





5 


Bowie No. 2 Mine 


98 


120 


47 


49 


5 


6 


Haul Trucks 


29 


36 


6.5 


7.5 


4 


5 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


2.4 


3 


11 


13 


0.5 


1 


RR Line 4 





1 





39 





2 


RR Line 3 


0.5 


1 


14 


39 


0.8 


2 


RR Line 2 


0.5 


1 


14 


39 


0.8 


2 


RR Line 1 


0.5 


1 


14 


39 


0.8 


2 


Total Tons/Year 


131 


263 


107 


636 


12 


31 


% of Baseline 


9% 


18% 


6% 


22% 







APCD required Oxbow to conduct air quality dispersion modeling at the mine, as part of the 
permitting process for the expansion up to the proposed 5 million ton per day throughput (Air 
Sciences, 1999). The modeling was completed using EPA's ISC3 dispersion model with one 
year of sequential-hourly meteorological data from the nearby West Elk Mine. A detailed 
modeling receptor grid was used to evaluate impacts at residential areas and rural areas 
surrounding the mine site. The results of the modeling demonstrated that the Oxbow Mine 
achieves the 24-hour and annual-average PM10 concentration limits at all points beyond the 
facility boundary: 



Averaging 
Period 


PM10 Impact 

by Mine 

Emissions Alone 

(/zg/m3) 


Assumed 

Background 

Concentration 

0ug/m3) 


Total 
Concentration 

From Mine 

Emissions Plus 

Background 

(wg/m3) 


Ambient Air 
Quality Standard 

(M9/m3) 


24-hour Average 


112 


10 


122 


150 


Annual Average 


22 


10 


32 


50 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-21 

It is generally recognized that the ISC3 dispersion model predicts a conservatively high impact, 
so it is concluded that the PM10 impacts surrounding the Oxbow Mine would be below the 
AAQS if Oxbow operates the air pollution control equipment in accordance with their APEN air 
quality permit. The PM10 AAQS limits are "secondary standards" that were specified by EPA to 
prevent "public welfare" impacts such as soiling of buildings and crop damage, as well as 
protecting public health. The modeled maximum PM10 concentrations at the facility boundary 
were less than the AAQS. 

The Bowie No. 2 coal processing equipment is farther from the facility boundary than is the 
equipment at Oxbow, so it is assumed that the PM10 concentrations at the Bowie No. 2 facility 
boundary are lower than at Oxbow. Similarly, the train loading facilities at the Bowie No. 1 
Loadout are farther from the facility boundary than is the train loading station at Oxbow, so the 
PM10 concentrations adjacent to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout would be less than Oxbow and would 
also be less than AAQS. 

The action alternatives would require an estimated five to six coal trains per day to travel to and 
from the project area. Based on emission factors developed by EPA (EPA, 1997) the diesel 
locomotives would emit an estimated 356 tons per year of NOx and 9 tons per year of 
particulate matter along the 30-mile rail line between Somerset and Delta. The windblown coal 
dust from the coal cars is expected to be much less than the particulate emitted from the diesel 
engine exhaust. All diesel engines are recognized to emit trace amounts of organic compounds 
(for example, aldehydes) that can cause short-term odor impacts. There could be minor, short- 
term odor impacts along the railroad line between Somerset and Delta. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions. "Greenhouse gases" are gaseous emissions that have 
extremely long persistence in the atmosphere, disperse globally, and can result in global 
warming. Greenhouse gas emissions are not a local issue; the emitted gases have no 
immediate impact near the emission point but eventually disperse across the planet. Two types 
of greenhouse gases are associated with the coal mines in the North Fork of the Gunnison 
River area: methane and carbon dioxide. 

Methane gas is liberated from the coal formations during mining and emitted to the atmosphere 
through the ventilation shafts. At the assumed coal production rates of 5 million tons per year, 
the Bowie No. 2 Mine and the Oxbow Elk Creek Mine would emit some very minor amounts of 
methane. The methane concentrations in the ventilation air would be well below the 
flammability limit, and there is no realistic possibility that the methane emitted from the vents 
could accumulate in buildings outside the mine to create a hazard from explosion. 

Carbon dioxide is not generated in significant amounts by the mining operations, but carbon 
dioxide is the primary combustion product of coal, such as in electric generating stations. 

3.1 .3.5 Air Quality Impacts to West Elk Wilderness and Black Canyon National 
Monument 

The Action Alternatives would increase emissions of particulate matter, NOx and SO2 from 
sources along the floor of the North fork of the Gunnison River valley. If the wind blows these 
emissions in a direction other than directly along the valley, it is possible that they could impact 
the West Elk Wilderness or Black Canyon National Monument {Figure 3. 1-2, Emission Sources 
and Wilderness Area Receptors for Visibility and Acid Deposition Modeling). The emitted NOx 
and SO2 can react inside the plume to convert to nitric acid and sulfuric acid, which can cause 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-22 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

increases in acid deposition at the sensitive alpine regions of the wilderness area. The nitric 
acid and sulfuric acid can react with ammonia in the atmosphere to form "secondary particles" 
that can form a regional haze that impacts visibility at locations far from the emission source. In 
addition, the emissions can cause an unattractive distinct plume (called "plume blight") during 
the first few miles downwind before the plume breaks up as it travels through rugged terrain. 

The worst-case potential impacts by acid deposition at the West Elk Wilderness and the 
regional haze impacts at West Elk Wilderness and Black Canyon were calculated using a 
refinement of the Level I screening procedure described in the document "Interagency 
Workgroup on Air Quality Modeling. Phase I Report" (IWAQM, 1993), referred to as "IWAQM- 
1". The impacts of plume blight within the first few miles downwind of the mines were evaluated 
using the PLUVUE visibility model (EPA, 1992). The impacts were evaluated at the following 
wilderness area receptors: 

► Regional haze and plume blight were evaluated at the top of Mt. Gunnison at the 
northwest boundary of the West Elk Wilderness (1 1 miles from the town on Bowie), 
looking downward toward the mine sites. 

► Acid deposition impacts were evaluated at South Golden Lake at the center of the 
West Elk Wilderness (22 miles from the town of Bowie) 

► Regional haze impacts were evaluated at the northeast corner of the Black Canyon 
National Monument (25 miles from the town of Bowie) 

General Approach for Dispersion Modeling - The key to the impact assessment was 
conducted to estimate the concentrations of PM10, NOx and SO2 at the West Elk Wilderness 
and Black Canyon caused by emissions from the mines, highways and railroad along the valley 
floor. To reach the interior of the West Elk Wilderness, the emissions would have to rise out of 
the valley at 6,000 feet elevation and travel southwest along a circuitous path: past Jumbo 
Mountain, West Flatiron Ridge and East Flatiron Ridge to reach the northwest wilderness 
boundary, then onward either over or around Mt. Gunnison (12,700 feet), West Beckwith 
Mountain (12,100 feet) and Sheep Mountain (1 1 ,800 feet). 

The conceptual pathway for emissions impacting the Black Canyon National Monument would 
be equally serpentine. Emissions from the valley floor at Paonia and Somerset could travel 
westward along the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley to the broad plane at Hotchkiss, 
then southward across the Smith River, over the top of Fruitland Mesa, across Red Canyon, 
then southward to Black Canyon (25 miles from the source). 

There are no conventional air quality dispersion models that can accurately simulate ground- 
level plume dispersion in such twisting, rugged terrain. Therefore, for this EIS, a conservative 
screening approach was used to estimate the worst-case impacts and compare them to 
relevant environmental criteria. As a highly conservative step, it was assumed that emissions 
from the mine sources at the valley floor blow downwind directly toward the wilderness areas as 
a straight, continuous, uniform plume with no enhanced dispersion caused by crossing valleys, 
rugged terrain, temperature inversions, etc. Given this assumption, two commonly-used 
Gaussian dispersion models (SCREEN3 and PLUVUE) were used to estimate the annual 
average concentrations and the maximum 24-hour average concentrations at the wilderness 
areas. The SCREEN3 model was used for the acid deposition modeling and the regional haze 
modeling. The PLUVUE model was used to assess plume blight immediately downwind of the 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Pa ge 3-23 

Bowie No. 2 Mine. Based on the rugged terrain described above, the use of these Gaussian 
dispersion models is considered to provide a conservatively high ambient concentration. The 
actual impacts at the wilderness areas are expected to be considerably lower than the modeled 
impacts presented in this EIS. 

Wind speed data from the meteorological tower that was operated at the West Elk mine in 1987 
were used for the modeling. That station is believed to provide the most relevant source of wind 
data for the Paonia-Somerset region. The wind rose shown in Figure 8, Wind Rose for West Elk 
Mine, displays a wind pattern that is common for a narrow river valley. Strong persistent winds 
blow along the valley, and weak infrequent winds blow across the valley. The prevailing winds 
blow up-valley or down-valley with a high wind speed (3.8 meters/second average). Cross- 
valley winds blowing southward toward the West Elk Wilderness were infrequent (less than 2% 
frequency of occurrence) with a low speed (2.5 meters per second). The average wind speed 
for all directions was 3.6 meters per second. Based on the West Elk wind rose, the following 
values were used for the SCREEN3 modeling: 

- Annual average wind speed of 2.5 meters per second, D stability, and 5 percent per 
year frequency of annual occurrence (i.e., the wind direction was assumed to 
meander so all of the emission sources between Somerset and Delta impact the 
wilderness areas for 5% of the time during the year) . 

► 24-hour average wind speed of 2.5 meters per second, D stability, and 6 hours per 
day occurrence (i.e., the wind direction was assumed to meander so all of the 
emission sources between Somerset and Delta would impact the wilderness areas 
for 6 hours). 

Emission Sources Used for Modeling - The visibility modeling and acid deposition 
assessments were done by modeling the incremental emission increases for the following two 
scenarios. The modeled incremental impacts were then compared to measured baseline 
conditions to evaluate the significance of the modeled increases. 

"Action Alt ernative Minus No-Action" . This scenario evaluates emission increases from mining 
of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (by Bowie) and the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract (by Oxbow). 

"Action Alternative Minus Year 1998 Baseline" . This scenario includes the direct emission 
increases from mining of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (by Bowie) and the Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tract (by Oxbow), plus cumulative impact emission increases that are expected to occur 
at the West Elk Mine. 

Table 3. 1-11, Emission Increases for Proposed Action and No-Action, lists the incremental 
emission increases for the two scenarios as well as the estimated grand total regional emission 
rates for the Year 1998 baseline, No-Action, and Action Alternative. As shown in Figure 9, 
Emission Sources and Wilderness Area Receptors Used for Visibility and Acid Deposition 
Modeling, the three mines that could impact the West Elk Wilderness are spread along a 3-mile 
line between Paonia and Somerset, and the railroad emissions would occur along the 30-mile 
track between Somerset and Delta. For the SCREEN3 modeling, the emission increases were 
apportioned between nine discrete area sources to represent the three mines and the railroad. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-24 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

Modeled Pollutant Concentrations at West Elk Wilderness and Black Canyon - Detailed 
modeling results are described in an independent technical report (Kennedy/Jenks, 1999). The 
results are summarized in Table 3. 1-12, Visibility and Acid Deposition Modeling Results". 

The highest concentrations of ambient NOx and PM10 were modeled at the Mt. Gunnison 
receptor, which is closest to the three mines. The modeled annual-average N02 increment at 
Mt. Gunnison is 0.069 ^g/m3, which is below the PSD Class I allowable increment of 2,5 
jug/m3. The maximum 24-hour total PM10 concentration at Mt. Gunnison (including primary 
mine dust plus secondary aerosols formed by reaction of NOx and SO2 emissions) is 0.24 
/ig/m3, which is below the PSD Class I allowable increment of 8 fu.g/rr\3. 

As listed in Table 3. 1-12, Visibility and Acid Deposition Modeling Results, the modeled 
concentrations at South Golden Lake and Black Canyon are lower than the modeled values at 
Mt. Gunnison because those receptors are farther from the large emission sources. 

Modeled Acid Deposition at South Golden Lake in West Elk Wilderness - Impacts from 
acid deposition were evaluated using the conservative screening procedure developed by the 
Forest Service (Fox et. at., 1983). Calculations are shown in Table 3. 1-13, Annual ANC 
Change at South Golden Lake (Action Alt. - No-Action) and in Table 3.1-14, Annual ANC 
Change at South Golden Lake (Action Alt. - Year 1998 Baseline). The modeled decrease in 
the acid neutralization capacity (ANC) at South Golden Lake was less than the criterion defining 
a "significant impact". The steps for the acid deposition assessment were as follows: 

► The annual average NOx and SO2 concentrations were modeled by SCREEN3 using 
the steps described previously. 

► The "dry deposition rates" for NOx and SO2 were estimated using deposition 
velocities of 0.007 m/sec and 0.024 m/sec, respectively. 

► The total deposition of nitrogen and sulfur were estimated by assuming that the total 
deposition is twice the dry deposition. 

► The Year 1998 baseline alkalinity of South Golden Lake was assumed to be 1 14 
microequivalents per liter (^eq/l) based on information from the Forest Service. 

► Annual average precipitation at South Golden Lake was assumed to be 40 inches 
based on information from the Forest Service 

The Forest Service considers a decrease in the ANC of 10 percent to constitute a significant 
impact. The modeled impacts are below that criterion: 



Action Alternative Minus No Action (Does not include any 
cumulative impacts) 


0.2% 


Action Alternative Minus Year 1998 Baseline (Includes 
cumulative impacts) 


0.7% 



Modeled Regional Haze Impacts - Emissions of inert coal dust, NOx and S02 from the mines 
and haul road could react in the atmosphere to form particles that could form a discernible haze 
over regions far from the mines. The following steps were used to estimate the impacts of 
PM10, NOx and SO2 emissions on visibility: 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-25 



Table 3.1-12 
Visibility and Acid Deposition Modeling Results 


Assumed Background Conditions 


Background Visual Range at West Elk Wilderness (clearest 90 th percentile) 


290 


km 


Background Visual Range at Black Canyon (clearest 90 th percentile) 


200 


km 


Background ANC at S. Golden Lake 


114 


ueg/l 


"Cross-Valley" Wind Speed 


2.5 


m/sec 


Annual-average "Cross-valley" Frequency of Occurrence for SCREEN3 


5% 




Highest-day, "Cross-valley Wind" Frequency of Occurrence for SCREEN3 


25% 




Assumed 24-hr Average Ambient Temperature at West Elk Wilderness 


70 


deg F 


Assumed Relative Humidity on 90% Clearest Day 


60% 




Assumed Ozone Concentration (10% of AAQS) 


0.008 


ppm 


Maximum Daily NO2 Conversion Rate 


10% 


per hour 


Maximum Daily SO2 Conversion Rate 


1% 


per hour 


Modeled Criteria Pollutant Concentrations 


Annual Nox Increment at S. Golden Lake, Proposed Action-Year 1998 Baseline 


0.019 


/^g/m3 


Annual Nox Increment at S. Golden Lake, Proposed Action - No-Action 


0.069 


^g/m3 


24-hr Primary PM10 Increment at Mt. Gunnison, Proposed Action-Year 1998 Baseline 


0.18 


^9/m3 


24-hr Total PM10 Increment (Primary + Secondary) at Mt. Gunnison Proposed Action - 
Year 1998 Baseline 


0.24 


Mg/m3 


Reduced Acid Neutralization Capacity (Significant Impact = 10%) 


Reduced ANC at S. Golden Lake (Proposed Action - No-Action) 


0.20% 


Reduced ANC at S. Golden Lake (Proposed Action - Year 1 998 Baseline) 


0.66% 


Increased Extinction Coefficient (Significant Impact = 10%) 


Increased B-ext at S. Golden Lake, Proposed Action - No-Action 


4.3% 


Increased B-ext at S. Golden Lake, Proposed Action - Year 1998 Baseline 


10.6% 


Increased B-ext at Mt. Gunnison, Proposed Action - No Action 


5.3% 


Increased B-ext at Mt. Gunnison, Proposed Action - Year 1998 Baseline 


13.0% 


Increased B-ext at Black Canyon, Proposed Action - No-Action 


1 .4% 


Increased B-ext at Black Canyon, Proposed Action - Year 1998 Baseline 


3.4% 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-26 Environmental Analysis September 1999 



Table 3.1-12 
Visibility and Acid Deposition Modeling Results 


PLUVUE Plume Visibility, Mt. Gunnison Viewer Looking within 10° of Bowie No. 2 Mine (significant impact 
= 2.0) 


Delta E, 1 Hour After Sunrise, Wind Condition = F/1 .0 


0.76 


Delta E, 1 Hour After Sunrise, Wind Condition = D/3.6 


0.55 


Delta E, Noon, Wind Condition = F/1 .0 


0.89 


Delta E, Noon, Wind Condition - D/3.6 


0.22 


Delta E, 1 Hour Before Sunset, Wind Condition = F/1 .0 


5.57 


Delta E, 1 Hour Before Sunset, Wind Condition = D/3.6 


1.42 



The visibility assessment focused on the impacts during exceptionally clear days. 
Clear days are defined by the "background visual range" which is the distance that a 
dark mountain would be barely visible against the sky. Based on data provided by 
Forest Service and the National Park Service, the 90 th percentile clearest days at the 
West Elk Wilderness and the Black Canyon have visual ranges of 290 km and 200 
km, respectively. 

The SCREEN3 model was used to calculate the downwind concentrations of mine 
dust, NOx and S02. 

The National Park Service's criterion for "significant impact" is based on a 24-hour 
average. The SCREEN3 values for the maximum 1-hour impacts were multiplied by 
a factor of 0.25 to convert to a 24-hour average. The 0.25 factor is commonly used 
for air quality modeling. 

NOx and SO2 must first react within the plume to form nitric acid and sulfuric acid 
before they can form "secondary particles" that can obscure visibility. The reaction 
rates for those pollutants depend on the air temperature, amount of solar radiation, 
amount of ambient ozone, and the relative humidity. Based on a clear day in July, 
the following meteorological parameters were assumed: 

Air temperature: 70 degrees at West Elk Wilderness 

80 degrees at Black Canyon of the 
Gunnison National Monument 

Solar radiation: Mid-day on July 4 

Ambient ozone: 0.008 ppm (1/1 the allowable AAQS) 

Relative humidity: 60% 

Based on the above ambient conditions, the PLUVUE model predicts mid-day 
reaction rates of 5 percent per hour for NOx and 0.7 percent per hour for SO2 for the 
West Elk receptor. As a conservative step, the PLUVUE-modeled reaction rates for 
the West Elk were adjusted upward to 1 percent per hour for NOx and 1 percent per 
hour for SO2. The PLUVUE reaction rates at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison 
National Monument (which is lower in elevation and hotter than West Elk) were 7 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






Table 3.1-13 

Annual ANC Change at South Golden Lake 

(Action Alternative - No-Action does not include emission increases from non-project cumulative impacts) 




Baseline Conditions at South Golden Lake 






Alkalinity 


141 jueg/l 






Precipitation 


40 inches 




Source 


Distance 
(m) 


2.5 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN 

3X/Q 

0ug/m3/g/sec) 


Increased NOx 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


NOx 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 
1-Hr NOx 
Cone. 

(^g/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
Annual NOx 
Cone. 
(Mg/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 
Available for 
Deposition 
(^g/m3) 


NOx - NO3 Conversion 100.0% Per Hour SCREEN3 Annual Factor 0.05 


West Elk 
Mine 


27400 


3.0 


0.1545 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1.00 


0.0000 


Oxbow Mine 


31000 


3.4 


0.144 





0,00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1.00 


0.0000 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


35400 


3.9 


0.135 


47 


1.35 


0.1827 


0.0091 


1.00 


0.00913 


Haul Trucks 


36000 


4.0 


0.133 


6.5 


0.19 


0.0249 


0.0012 


1.00 


0.00124 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


36600 


4.1 


0.132 


11 


0.32 


0.0418 


0.0021 


1.00 


0.00209 


RR Line 4 


33700 


3.7 


0.138 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1.00 


0.0000 


Rr Line 3 


39500 


4.4 


0.127 


14 


0.40 


0.0512 


0.0026 


1.00 


0.00256 


RR Line 2 


50300 


5.6 


0.112 


14 


0.40 


0.0451 


0.0023 


1.00 


0.00226 


RR Line 1 


68600 


7.6 


0.095 


14 


0.40 


0.0383 


0.0019 


1.00 


0.00191 


NO2 Available for Deposition 




107 




0.384 


0.019 




0.0192 


Mojar Ratio R, N/NO2 














0.30 


NO2 Deposition Velocity Vd, m/sec 














0.007 



I 

I 

3" 

o 
e 



s. 

S 

3 

3 
I 

6) 
O 

Sf 
S" 

3 

CD 



Table 3.1-13 

Annual ANC Change at South Golden Lake 

(Action Alternative - No-Action does not include emission increases from non-project cumulative impacts) 


Source 


Distance 
(m) 


2.5 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN 

3X/Q 

(^g/m3/g/sec) 


Increased NOx 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


NOx 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 

1-HrNOx 

Cone. 

(^g/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
Annual NOx 
Cone. 

(^g/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 
Available for 
Deposition 
Cug/m3) 


DEP (total-to-dry ratio) 














2 


Units Correction Fc 














315.4 


Nitrogen Flux, kg N/ha/year 














0.026 


SO2-SO3 Conversion 100.0% Per Hour SCREEN 3 Annual Factor 0.05 


West Elk 
Mine 


27400 


3.0 


0.1545 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1.00 


0.00000 


Oxbow Mine 


31000 


2.4 


0.144 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1.00 


0.00000 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


35400 


2.7 


0.135 


5 


0.14 


0.0194 


0.0010 


1.00 


0.00097 


Haul Trucks 


36000 


2.8 


0.133 


4 


0.12 


0.0153 


0.0008 


1.00 


0.00077 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


36600 


2.8 


0.132 


0.5 


0.01 


0.0019 


0.0001 


1.00 


0.00010 


RR Line 4 


33700 


2.6 


0.138 





0.00 


0.000 


0.0000 


1.00 


0.00000 


RR Line 3 


39500 


3.0 


0.127 


0.8 


0.02 


0.0029 


0.0001 


1.00 


0.00015 


RR Line 2 


50300 


3.9 


0.112 


0.8 


0.02 


0.0026 


0.0001 


1.00 


0.00013 


RR Line 1 


68600 


5.3 


0.095 


0.8 


0.02 


0.0022 


0.0001 


1.00 


0.00011 


SC-2 Available for Deposition 




12 




0.044 


0.0022 




0.00222 


Mojar Ratio R, N/NO2 














0.50 


NO2 Deposition Velocity Vd, m/sec 














0.024 



I 

3 1 
S 



ea 

S 1 

g 
3' 

3 

(D 

3 

I 

(/> 

sr 

(5 s 
3 

§ 



Table 3.1-13 

Annual ANC Change at South Golden Lake 

(Action Alternative - No-Action does not include emission increases from non-project cumulative impacts) 


Source 


Distance 
(m) 


2.5 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN 

3X/Q 

vug/m3/g/sec) 


Increased NOx 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


NOx 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 
1-HrNOx 
Cone. 
0^9/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
Annual NOx 
Cone. 
v*g/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 
Available for 
Deposition 

(^g/m3) 


DEP (total-to-dry ratio) 














2 


Units Correction Fc 














315.4 


Nitrogen Flux, kg N/ha/year 














0.0168 




Unit Conversions 






Alkalinity 


0.000141 eq/l 






Precipitation 


1 .02 meters 






N Flux Dn 


0.0258 kg/ha/yr 






S Flux Ds 


0.0168 kg/ha/yr 






Rn Factor (N/NO2) 


0.30 






Rn Factor (S/SO2) 


0.5 






Nitrogen Eq. Flux Hn 


0.000184 eg/m2 






Sulfur Equ. Flux Hs 


0.000105 eg/m2 




Wind Speed: 2.5 m/sec and D stability based on local "cross-valley" wind data 

Basis: D.G. Fox, 1983, "A Suggested Methodology for an Acid Deposition Screening Technique Applicable Within 200 km of Isolated Sources", 

Preliminary Draft, 1983. 
Equations: Total Flux (kg/ha/yr = (Cone.) X Vd x R x DEP x Fc Hn = Dn/(10x Rn x46) Delta ANC 0.202% 

Hs = Da/(1 x Rs x 32) Delta ANC (%) = 1 00 * [(Hs+Hn)/d/1 000/A] 
SCREEN3 Dispersion Modeling Assumptions: 

SCREEN3 model was used, dividing the mine sites, haul roads, and railroad into discrete point sources for modeling the concentration at West Elk. 
SCREEN3 model assumed 2.5 mps "cross-valley" wind speed based on annual average condition at West Elk weather station. 



I 
I 

o 

8 



s 

S 1 

s. 
3 

3 

3 

a 
5? 

I 

o 

m 
5? 

3 
a 



Table 3.1-14 

Annual ANC Change at South Golden Lake 

(Action Alternative - Year 1998 baseline includes emission increases from non-project cumulative impacts) 




Baseline Conditions at South Golden Lake 






Alkalinity 


141 ^eg/l 






Precipitation 


40 inches 




Source 


Distance 
(m) 


2.5 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN 

3X/Q 

(^g/m3/g/sec) 


Increased NOx 

Emissions, 

Proposed 

Project - 

No- Action (tpy) 


NOx 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 
1-Hr NOx 
Cone. 

(Mg/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
Annual NOx 
Cone. 

v*g/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 

Available 

for 

Deposition 

(^g/m3) 


NOx - N03 Conversion 1 00.0% Per Hour SCREEN3 Annual Factor 0.05 


West Elk 
Mine 


27400 


3.0 


0.1545 


69 


1.99 


0.3069 


0.0153 


1.00 


0.01535 


Oxbow Mine 


31000 


3.4 


0.144 


68 


1.96 


0.2819 


0.0141 


1.00 


0.01410 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


35400 


3.9 


0.135 


49 


1.41 


0.1905 


0.0095 


1.00 


0.00952 


Haul Trucks 


36000 


4.0 


0.133 


7.5 


0.22 


0.0287 


0.0014 


1.00 


0.00144 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


36600 


4.1 


0.132 


13 


0.37 


0.0494 


0.0025 


1.00 


0.00247 


RR Line 4 


33700 


3.7 


0.138 


39 


1.12 


0.1550 


0.0077 


1.00 


0.00775 


Rr Line 3 


39500 


4.4 


0.127 


39 


1.12 


0.1426 


0.0071 


1.00 


0.00713 


RR Line 2 


50300 


5.6 


0.112 


39 


1.12 


0.1258 


0.0063 


1.00 


0.00629 


RR Line 1 


68600 


7.6 


0.095 


39 


1.12 


0.1067 


0.0053 


1.00 


0.00533 


NO2 Available for Deposition 




363 




1.387 


0.069 




0.0694 


Mojar Ratio R, N/NO2 














0.30 


NO2 Deposition Velocity Vd, m/sec 














0.007 























Table 3.1-14 

Annual ANC Change at South Golden Lake 

(Action Alternative - Year 1998 baseline includes emission increases from non-project cumulative impacts) 


Source 


Distance 
(m) 


2.5 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN 

3X/Q 

(A<g/m3/g/sec) 


Increased NOx 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


NOx 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 

1-HrNOx 

Cone. 

C«g/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
Annual NOx 
Cone. 

0ug/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 
Available 
for 
Deposition 

(A<g/m3) 


DEP (total-to-dry ratio) 














2 


Units Correction Fc 














315.4 


Nitrogen Flux, kg N/ha/year 














0.093 


SO2-SO3 Conversion 100.0% Per Hour SCREEN 3 Annual Factor 0.05 


West Elk 
Mine 


27400 


3.0 


0.1545 


6 


0.17 


0.0267 


0.0013345 


1.00 


0.00133 


Oxbow Mine 


31000 


3.4 


0.144 


5 


0.14 


0.0207 


0.0010365 


1.00 


0.00104 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


35400 


3.9 


0.135 


6 


0.17 


0.0233 


0.0011661 


1.00 


0.00117 


Haul Trucks 


36000 


4.0 


0.133 


5 


0.14 


0.0191 


0.0009574 


1.00 


0.00096 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


36600 


4.1 


0.132 


1 


0.03 


0.0038 


0.0002 


1.00 


0.00019 


RR Line 4 


33700 


3.7 


0.138 


2 


0.06 


0.0079 


0.0004 


1.00 


0.00040 


Rr Line 3 


39500 


4.4 


0.127 


2 


0.06 


0.0073 


0.0004 


1.00 


0.00037 


RR Line 2 


50300 


5.6 


0.112 


2 


0.06 


0.0064 


0.0003 


1.00 


0.00032 


RR Line 1 


68600 


7.6 


0.095 


2 


0.06 


0.0055 


0.0003 


1.00 


0.00027 


SO2 Available for Deposition 




31 




0.121 


0.0060 




0.00604 


Mojar Ratio R, N/NO2 














0.50 


NO2 Deposition Velocity Vd, m/sec 














0.024 



I 

I 

(D 



CO 



8 

! 

to 



(D 






I 



S 1 

s. 

3 

a 

3 
fa 
3 

s 

I 

o 

(/> 

Sf 
8" 
3 

a 



Table 3.1-14 

Annual ANC Change at South Golden Lake 

(Action Alternative - Year 1998 baseline includes emission increases from non-project cumulative impacts) 


Source 


Distance 
(m) 


2.5 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN 

3X/Q 

{fxg/m3lg/sec) 


Increased NOx 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


NOx 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 
1-Hr NOx 
Cone. 

(Mg/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
Annual NOx 
Cone. 

(^g/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 
Available 
for 
Deposition 

(^g/m3) 


DEP (total-to-dry ratio) 














2 


Units Correction Fc 














315.4 


Nitrogen Flux, kg N/ha/year 














0.0457 




Unit Conversions 






Alkalinity 


0.000141 eq/l 






Precipitation 


1 .02 meters 






N Flux Dn 


0.0932 kg/ha/yr 






S Flux Ds 


0.0457 kg/ha/yr 






Rn Factor (N/NO2) 


0.30 






Rn Factor (S/SO2) 


0.5 






Nitrogen Eq. Flux Hn 


0.000666 eg/m2 






Sulfur Equ. Flux Hs 


0.000286 eg/m2 




Wind Speed: 2.5 m/sec and D stability based on local "cross-valley" wind data 

Basis: D.G. Fox, 1 983, "A Suggested Methodology for an Acid Deposition Screening Technique Applicable Within 200 km of Isolated Sources", 

Preliminary Draft, 1983. 
Equations: Total Flux (kg/ha/yr = (Cone.) X Vd x R x DEP x Fc Hn = Dn/(10 x Rn x 46) Delta ANC 0.664% 

Hs = Da/(10 x Rs x 32) Delta ANC (%) = 100 * [(Hs+Hn)/d/1000/A] 
SCREEN3 Dispersion Modeling Assumptions: 

SCREEN3 model was used, dividing the mine sites, haul roads, and railroad into discrete point sources for modeling the concentration at West Elk. 
SCREEN3 model assumed 2.5 mps "cross-valley" wind speed based on annual average condition at West Elk weather station. 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-33 

percent per hour for NOx and 0.7 percent per hour for SO2.. As a conservative step, 
the PLUVUE rates were adjusted upward to 14 percent per hour for NOx and 1 .5% 
per hour for SO2. 

► The resulting primary particulate and secondary particulate concentrations were 
converted to a "light extinction coefficient" (b-ext, with units of 1/km) using the 
IWAQM-1 factor 0.003 b-ext per //g/m3 of total particulate (the sum of primary PM10, 
secondary ammonium nitrate, and secondary ammonium sulfate). 

► The background visual range (VR) at each receptor was converted to a background 
b-ext coefficient by the Koschmeider equation: 

Background b-ext = In (0.02) / VR 

► The National Park Service staff indicated a "significant impact" to be an incremental 
b-ext increase of 10 percent above background. 

Calculations were completed for the "Action Alternative Minus Baseline" and the "Action 
Alternative Minus No-Action" scenarios, at each of the three wilderness area receptors 
(Kennedy/Jenks, 1 999). Example calculations are shown in Table 3. 1-15, B-ext Increase at Mt. 
Gunnison (Action Alternative Minus No-Action and Table 3.1-16, B-ext Increase at Black 
Canyon (Action Alternative Minus No-Action. Modeled impacts for all of the scenarios at each 
of the receptors are listed in Table 3. 1-12, Visibility and Acid Deposition Modeling Results. 

Secondary aerosols produced by reaction of NOx and SO2 in the plumes contributed to the total 
ambient particulate. Combined ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate particulate 
contributed 30 percent of the total ambient particulate at Mt. Gunnison and 35 percent of the 
total particulate at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument. 

For the "Action Alternative Minus No-Action" scenario that does not include any cumulative 
impacts, the modeled increases in b-ext were less than the NPS impact criterion of 10 percent, 
as follows: 

► Mt. Gunnison 5% increase above background 

► South Golden Lake 4% 

► Black Canyon 1 % 

For the "Action Alternative Minus 1998 Baseline" scenario that includes cumulative impacts, the 
modeled increases in b-ext exceeded the NPS impact criterion of 10 percent, as follows: 

► Mt. Gunnison 13% increase above background 

► South Golden Lake 1 1 % 

► Black Canyon 3% 

"Plume Blight" Near West Elk Wilderness Overlooking Gunnison River • In some cases 
when the wind direction and the sun are aligned, an observer on a high ridge overlooking the 
North Fork of the Gunnison River valley could see a distinct dust plume emitted by any of the 
coal mines. This visual impact caused by a distinct plume emitted from a distinct source is 
called "plume blight". Plume blight is different from regional haze where the viewer can 
perceive visibility degradation but the location of the emission source cannot be identified. The 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Table 3.1-15 
B-Ext Increase at Mt. Gunnison 
(Proposed Action - No-Action) 


Source 


Distance 
(m) 


2.5 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN3 

X/Q 

(^g/m3/g/see) 


Increased NOx 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


NOx 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 

1-HrNOx 

Cone. 

(Mg/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
24-Hour 
NOx Cone. 
(Mg/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 

Available 

for 

Deposition 

(^g/m3) 


NOx - N03 Conversion 10.0% Per Hour SCREEN3 24-Hour Factor 0.25 


West Elk 
Mine 


11400 


1.3 


0.263 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.1249 


0.00000 


Oxbow Mine 


13700 


1.5 


0.233 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.1482 


0.00000 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


18600 


2.1 


0.194 


47 


1.35 


0.2625 


0.0656 


0.1957 


0.01284 


Haul Trucks 


18600 


2.1 


0.194 


6.5 


0.19 


0.0363 


0.0091 


0.1957 


0.00178 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


19450 


2.2 


0.189 


11 


0.32 


0.0599 


0.0150 


0.2036 


0.00305 


RR Line 4 


14300 


1.6 


0.227 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.1541 


0.00000 


RR Line 3 


22900 


2.5 


0.173 


14 


0.40 


0.697 


0.0174 


0.2352 


0.00410 


RR Line 2 


34300 


3.8 


0.139 


14 


0.40 


0.560 


0.0140 


0.3307 


0.00463 


RR Line 1 


53800 


6.0 


0.109 


14 


0.40 


0.0439 


0.0110 


0.4673 


0.00513 


NO2 Available for Particulate Formulation 


107 




0.528 


0.132 




0.0315 


Molar Ratio, Ammonium Nitrate to NO2 














1.74 


Ammonium Nitrate Cone, ^g/m3 














0.031 



! 

3 



CO 

<o 
to 



I 

o 



s 
3 

3 

3 
o 

3 
ST 

I 

8} 

o 

ft. 

tn 

at 

5? 

3 
<r> 
a 



Table 3.1-15 
B-Ext Increase at Mt. Gunnison 
(Proposed Action - No-Action) 


Source 


Distance 
(m) 


2.5 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN3 

X/Q 

(A<g/m3/g/sec) 


Increased SO2 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


S02 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 

1-HrS02 

Cone. 

(^g/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
24-Hour 
SO2 Cone. 
(Mg/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 

Available 

for 

Particles 

G«g/m3) 


SO2-SO3 Conversion 1.0% Per Hour SCREEN 3 24-Hour Factor 0.25 


West Elk 
Mine 


11400 


1.3 


0.263 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.0126 


0.00000 


Oxbow Mine 


13700 


1.5 


0.233 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.0152 


0.00000 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


18600 


2.1 


0.194 


5 


0.14 


0.0279 


0.0070 


0.0206 


0.00014 


Haul Trucks 


18600 


2.1 


0.194 


4 


0.12 


0.0223 


0.0056 


0.0206 


0.00011 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


19450 


2.2 


0.189 


0.5 


0.01 


0.0027 


0.0007 


0.0215 


0.00001 


RR Line 4 


14300 


1.6 


0.227 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.0158 


0.00000 


RR Line 3 


22900 


2.5 


0.173 


0.8 


0.02 


0.0040 


0.0010 


0.0252 


0.00003 


RR Line 2 


34300 


3.8 


0.139 


0.8 


0.02 


0.0032 


0.0008 


0.0376 


0.00003 


RR Line 1 


53800 


6.0 


0.109 


0.8 


0.02 


0.0025 


0.0006 


0.0583 


0.00004 


SO3 Available for Particulate Formation 


12 




0.053 


0.0157 




0.00036 


Molar Ratio, Ammonium Sulfate to SO2 














2.06 


Assumed Rel. Humidity 














0.60 


Humidity Correction Factor for 
Ammonium Sulfate 














1.70 


Ammonium Sulfate Concentration, 

A<g/m3 














0.00128 






Table 3.1-15 
B-Ext Increase at ML Gunnison 
(Proposed Action - No-Action) 




Source 


Distance 
(m) 


2.5 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN3 

X/Q 

(^g/m3/g/sec) 


Increased PM10 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


PM10 

Emissions 

(9/s) 


SCREEN3 
1-HrPMio 
Cone. 

(^g/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
24-HR PM10 
Cone. 
(M9/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Primary 

Particles 

(^g/m3) 


Primary PM10 


Conversion 


100.0% Per Hour SCREEN3 24-Hr Factor 0.25 








West Elk 
Mine 


11400 


1.3 


0.263 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1.0000 


0.00000 


Oxbow Mine 


13700 


1.5 


0.233 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1.0000 


0.00000 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


18600 


2.1 


0.194 


98 


2.82 


0.5474 


0.1369 


1.0000 


0.13685 


Haul Trucks 


18600 


2.1 


0.194 


29 


0.83 


0.1620 


0.0405 


1.0000 


0.04050 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


19450 


2.2 


0.189 


24 


0.07 


0.0131 


0.0033 


1.0000 


0.00327 


RR Line 4 


14300 


1.6 


0.227 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1.0000 


0.00000 


RR Line 3 


22900 


2.5 


0.173 


0.5 


0.01 


0.0025 


0.0006 


1.0000 


0.00062 


RR Line 2 


34300 


3.8 


0.139 


0.5 


0.01 


0.0020 


0.0005 


1.0000 


0.00050 


RR Line 1 


53800 


6.0 


0.109 


0.5 


0.01 


0.0016 


0.0004 


1.0000 


0.00039 


Primary Parti 


culate 




131 




0.729 


0.182 




0.1821 








Total Particulate at Receptor 










Primary PM10 


0.1821 ^g/m3 






Secondary Ammonium Nitrate 


0.055 ^g/m3 






Secondary Ammonium Sulfate 


0.001 28 ^g/m3 





I 

I 

J 

g- 

o 
o 



Table 3.1-15 
B-Ext Increase at Mt. Gunnison 
(Proposed Action - No-Action) 


Total Particulate Increment 


0.2383 A<g/m3 


IWAQM-1 B-ext Conversion Factor 


0.0030 


Incremental B-ext Increase 


0.00071 1/km 


Background Conditions 


Background Visual Range 


200 km 


Koschmeider bext 


0.0196 1/km 



I 

I 



try 



I 

s. 
3 

3 

CD 

5? 

I 

o 

in 

ST 
(? 
3 

3 



Percent Increase In Extinction 5.30% 



Wind Speed: 2.5 m/sec and D stability based on local wind data 

Assumptions: SCREEN3 model was used, dividing the mine sites, haul roads, and railroad into 9 discrete point sources for modeling the concentration at 

West Elk. 

SCREEN3 model assumed 2.5 m/sec wind speed based on the "cross-valley" average condition at the West Elk meteorological station. 

NO2 and SO2 conversion rates were based on PLUVUE model, using the following: noon time, 70 degrees F, 60% humidity, 0.008 ppm 

ozone. 



I 

to 



f 

3 









5 
© 

I 

3 1 



g 

a 1 

s 

3" 

a 

3 

sr 

I 

sr 

5? 

3 

<B 

a 



Table 3.1-16 

B-Ext Increase, Black Canyon National Monument 

(Proposed Action - No-Action) 


Source 


Distance 
(m) 


3.6 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN3 

X/Q 

(ug/m3/g/sec) 


Increased NOx 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


NOx 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 
1-Hr NOx 
Cone. 

(Mg/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
24-Hour 
NOx Cone. 
(^g/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 

Available 

for 

Deposition 

(Mg/m3) 


NOx - N03 Conversion 14.0% Per Hour SCREEN3 24-Hour Factor 0.25 


West Elk 
Mine 


40000 


3.1 


0.0635 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.3722 


0.00000 


Oxbow Mine 


46000 


2.4 


0.060 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.3037 


0.00000 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


41000 


3.2 


0.0628 


47 


1.35 


0.0850 


0.0212 


0.3794 


0.00806 


Haul Trucks 


38900 


3.0 


0.0645 


6.5 


0.19 


0.0121 


0.0030 


0.3641 


0.00110 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


36000 


2.8 


0.0672 


11 


0.32 


0.0213 


0.0053 


0.3423 


0.00182 


RR Line 4 


41200 


3.2 


0.0626 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.3809 


0.00000 


Rr Line 3 


31400 


2.4 


0.0725 


14 


0.40 


0.0292 


0.0073 


0.3061 


0.00224 


RR Line 2 


25200 


1.9 


0.0821 


14 


0.40 


0.0331 


0.0083 


0.2542 


0.00210 


RR Line 1 


31400 


2.4 


0.0725 


14 


0.40 


0.0292 


0.0073 


0.3061 


0.00224 


NO2 Available for Particulate Formulation 


107 




0.210 


0.052 




0.0176 


Molar Ratio Ammonium Nitrate to NO2 














1.74 


Ammonium Nitrate Cone, ^g/m3 














0.031 


Existing Baseline Deposition Rate at 
Sunlight Peak 














5.2 


Percent increase Above Baseline 














#REF1 



I 
I 

o 
o 

8) 



s 

S 1 
s. 
3 

3 

3 

a 
5? 

I 

m 
Ef 

a 

(ft 

3 



Table 3.1-16 

B-Ext Increase, Black Canyon National Monument 

(Proposed Action - No-Action) 


Source 


Distance 
(m) 


3.6 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN3 
X/Q 
(^g/m3/g/sec) 


Increased SO2 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


S02 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 

1-HrNOx 

Cone. 

0*g/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
24-Hour 
SO2 Cone. 

(A<g/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Acid Gas 
Available 
for 
Particles 

(^g/m3) 


SO2-SO3 Conversion 1 .5% Per Hour SCREEN 3 24-Hour Factor 0.25 


West Elk 
Mine 


40000 


3.1 


0.0635 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.0456 


0.0000 


Oxbow Mine 


44600 


2.4 


0.060 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.0356 


0.0000 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


41000 


3.2 


0.0628 


5 


0.14 


0.0090 


0.0023 


0.0467 


0.00011 


Haul Trucks 


38900 


3.0 


0.0645 


4 


0.12 


0.0074 


0.0019 


0.0444 


0.00008 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


36000 


2.8 


0.0672 


0.5 


0.01 


0.0010 


0.0002 


0.0411 


0.00001 


RR Line 4 


41200 


3.2 


0.0626 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


0.0469 


0.00000 


RR Line 3 


31400 


2.4 


0.0725 


0.8 


0.02 


0.0017 


0.0004 


0.0360 


0.00002 


RR Line 2 


25200 


1.9 


0.0821 


0.8 


0.02 


0.0019 


0.0005 


0.0290 


0.00001 


RR Line 1 


31400 


2.4 


0.0725 


0.8 


0.02 


0.0017 


0.0004 


0.0360 


0.00002 


SO3 Available for Particulate Formation 


12 




0.023 


0.0057 




0.00024 


Molar Ratio, Ammonium Sulfate to S02 














2.06 


Assumed Rel. Humidity 














0.60 


Humidity Correction Factor for 
Ammonium Sulfate 














1.70 


Ammonium Sulfate Concentration, 

^g/m3 














0.00085 


















Table 3.1-16 

B-Ext Increase, Black Canyon National Monument 

(Proposed Action - No-Action) 








Source 


Distance 
(m) 


3.6 mps 
Plume 
Travel 
Time (hrs) 


1-Hr 

SCREEN 

3X/Q 

Cug/m3/g/sec) 


Increased PM10 
Emissions, 
Proposed 
Project - 
No-Action (tpy) 


PM10 
Emissions 

(g/s) 


SCREEN3 
1-HrPMl0 
Cone. 
<A<g/m A 3) 


SCREEN3 
24-HR PM10 
Cone. 
(^g/m A 3) 


Fractional 
Conversion 

at %/Hr 

Rate 


Primary 

Particles 

C"g/m3) 


Primary PM10 


Conversion 


100.0% Per Hour SCREEN3 24-Hr Factor 0.25 








West Elk 
Mine 


40000 


3.1 


0.0635 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1 .0000 


0.00000 


Oxbow Mine 


44600 


2.4 


0.060 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1.0000 


0.00000 


Bowie No. 2 
Mine 


41000 


3.2 


0.0628 


98 


2.82 


0.1772 


0.0443 


1.0000 


0.044430 


Haul Trucks 


38900 


3.0 


0.0645 


29 


0.83 


0.0539 


0.0135 


1 .0000 


0.01346 


Bowie Rail 
Facility 


36000 


2.8 


0.0672 


2.4 


0.07 


0.0046 


0.0012 


1.0000 


0.00116 


RR Line 4 


41200 


3.2 


0.0626 





0.00 


0.0000 


0.0000 


1 .0000 


0.00000 


RR Line 3 


31400 


2.4 


0.0725 


0.5 


0.01 


0.0010 


0.0003 


1.0000 


0.00026 


RR Line 2 


25200 


1.9 


0.0821 


0.5 


0.01 


0.0012 


0.0003 


1 .0000 


0.00030 


RR Line 1 


31400 


2.4 


0.0725 


0.5 


0.01 


0.0010 


0.0003 


1 .0000 


0.00026 


Primary Parti* 


;ulate 






131 




0.239 


0.060 




0.0597 








Total Particulate at Receptor 










Primary PM10 


0.0597 ^g/m3 






Secondary Ammonium Nitrate 


0.031 ,ug/m3 






Secondary Ammonium Sulfate 


0.00085 ,wg/m3 





I 

I 

o 



Table 3.1-16 

B-Ext Increase, Black Canyon National Monument 

(Proposed Action - No-Action) 


Total Particulate Increment 


0.091 1 pg/m3 


IWAQM-1 B-ext Conversion Factor 


0.0030 


Incremental B-ext Increase 


0.00027 1/km 


Background Conditions 


Background Visual Range 


200 km 


Koschmeider b-ext 


0.0196 1/km 



s? 

■8 

I 



?o 



?3 

s 

& 

s. 
3 

3 

§ 

I 

6) 

o 
if) 

s 

§ 

3 

3 



Percent Increase in Extinction 1.40% 



Wind Speed: 2.5 m/sec and D stability based on local wind data 

Assumptions: SCREEN3 model was used, dividing the mine sites, haul roads, and railroad into 9 discrete point sources for modeling the concentration at 

West Elk. 

SCREEN3 model assumed 2.5 m/sec wind speed based on the "cross-valley" average condition at the West Elk meteorological station. 

NO2 and SO2 conversion rates were based on PLUVUE model, using the following: noon time, 70 degrees F, 60% humidity, 0.008 ppm 

ozone. 



I 

to 






Page 3-42 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

plume blight impact in this example would probably be limited to the section of plume 
immediately downwind of the mine. If the wind was blowing in a direction other than along the 
river valley it is expected that the distinct plume would remain intact for only a few miles before 
it dispersed over mountainous terrain. 

For this assessment the observer was assumed to be on top of Mt. Gunnison, looking 
northwest toward the North Fork of the Gunnison River and the Bowie No. 2 Mine. Inspection 
of topographical maps indicates that the No. 2 Bowie Mine itself is probably hidden from view 
by Jumbo Mountain. However, it is conceivable that a ground-level plume blowing up the side 
of Jumbo Mountain could be visible from Mt. Gunnison. 

EPA's PLUVUE visibility model (EPA, 1992) was used to evaluate plume blight for this viewing 
condition. PLUVUE is a relatively simple and conservative screening tool. PLUVUE uses 
Gaussian dispersion modeling of emissions from the source to the viewer based on a single 
wind speed and direction, with the same limitations as EPA's SCREEN3 model. PLUVUE 
models the downwind conversion of NOx to particulate nitrate and S02 to particulate sulfate, 
which contribute to visibility impairment. PLUVUE allows the user to independently select the 
following source and viewer parameters: 

► Orientation of the viewer relative to the emission source. 

► Wind direction relative to the source and the viewer. 

»■ Sun direction and sun height relative to the source and the viewer. For a given 
viewing angle, this allows the user to assess the impacts that would occur at different 
times of the day. For example, assume the viewer was looking westward at an 
important vista. Using PLUVUE the user could place the sun along the eastern 
horizon to simulate early morning conditions with the sun behind the viewer, or the 
user could place the sun along the western horizon to simulate late afternoon 
conditions with the sun in front of the viewer. Those two conditions are generally the 
most restrictive for visibility impairment. The most severe condition is when the 
viewer is looking in the direction of the emission source with the sun behind the 
source (in front of the viewer). In general, visibility impairment is minimized when the 
sun is high in the sky, so the sun is neither in front of nor behind the viewer. 

For each selected modeling condition, PLUVUE quantifies the following visibility parameters: 

Plume Contrast - Contrast is the difference in brightness between the plume and the 
background surface behind the plume. The perceived contrast depends on the color of the 
background surface (e.g., a dark background surface such as a forested hillside as opposed to 
a light background such as the sky). A contrast of 0.02 is barely perceptible. For purposes of 
quantifying visibility impairment, EPA defines "significant impact" as a plume contrast exceeding 
0.05. 

Plume Perceptibility Parameter E(L*a*b*) - This is a parameter that quantifies people's 
perception of a plume based on changes in visual qualities described as brightness (L*), color 
saturation (b*), and color changes (a*). Studies have shown that most people can detect a 
change in E(L*a*b*) of 1 .0. For purposes of quantifying visibility impairment, EPA defines 
"significant impact" as a modeled E(L*a*b*) exceeding 2.0. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-43 

The visibility impacts caused by incremental emission increases between "Action Alternative" 
and "No-Action Alternative" were assessed using PLUVUE, with the following assumptions: 

Viewer Locations - As shown in Figure 10, Emission Sources and Viewer for PLUVUE 
Modeling, the viewer was placed on top of Mt. Gunnison at the northwest corner of the West 
Elk Wilderness, overlooking the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley. 

Emission Sources - PLUVUE can model only a single emission source. To simulate mine- 
related emissions (mining dust, haul road emissions, and train loading emissions), a single 
"mine area source" was placed at the Bowie No. 2 Mine. The "mine source" included emission 
increases directly associated with the Bowie No. 2 Mine, coal trucks along State Highway 133, 
and the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. Emissions from the coal trains between Paonia and Delta were 
not included in the PLUVUE modeling. The following emission increases were used: 

► 65.5 tpy of Nox 

- 313 tpy of PM-10 

► 9.5 tpy of S02 

Wind Direction - EPA's original visibility modeling protocol (EPA, 1988) specifies a wind 
direction that is 1 1 .5 degrees away from the line connecting the source and the viewer. The 
resulting wind direction is shown in Figure 10, Emission Sources and Viewer for PLUVUE 
Modeling. 

Wind Speed - Two wind conditions were modeled. The "average condition" was modeled at 
3.6 meters per second and D stability based on the average value at the West Elk Mine 
meteorological station. A condition of 1 .0 meters per second and F stability was used to 
simulate cairn, stagnant conditions that might exist during early morning hours. 

Viewing Angles - This assessment focused on plume blight within the first few miles of plume 
travel. Viewing angles ranging from directly at the mine source to cross-plume were 
considered. Viewing angles looking downwind at points more than 15 km from the source were 
not considered, because it is unreasonable to assume that the emissions from the mine would 
form a uniform, intact "plume" beyond 15 km downwind. 

Sun Angle -Sun angles corresponding to July 4 were assumed. Three separate sun angles 
were run for each vista: 1 hour after sunrise with the sun near the northeast horizon; mid-day 
with the sun nearly overhead; and 1 hour before sunset with the sun near the northwest 
horizon. 

Wind Speed and Stability - Two wind conditions were modeled. The "average condition" was 
modeled at 3.6 meters per second and D stability based on the average value at the West Elk 
Mine meteorological station. A condition of 1 .0 meters per second and F stability was used to 
simulate calm, stagnant conditions that might exist during early morning hours. The "F stability" 
condition is unlikely to occur in the afternoon at the Paonia area, because ground heating 
during the day prevents the occurrence of strong temperature inversions that produce stable 
conditions. 

Backgroun d Visual Range -The modeling assumes a clear, warm day with low background 
pollutant concentrations. The background visual range is 290 km, which is the 90 th percentile 
clearest value at the West Elk Wilderness. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-44 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

The results of the PLUVUE runs are listed in Table 3.1-17, Summary of PLUVUE Results. A 
significant impact is defined as E(L*a*b*) exceeding 2.0 or Contrast exceeding 0.05. The 
results were as follows: 

► The maximum impact occurs near sunset, when the sun is northwest behind the 
source. The modeled impacts at mid-day and sunrise are lower. 

► For the "average wind condition" of 3.6 meters per second and D stability, the 
modeled E(l_*a*b*) and Contrast at all viewing angles and times of day are less than 
the thresholds defining a significant impact. 

► For the "F stability condition" where the viewer is looking almost directly at the mine 
at sunset with the sun behind the mine, the E(L*a*b*) and Contrast exceed the 
criteria for an EPA significant impact. However, F stability does not occur in the 
afternoon on sunny days, so it is unreasonable to assume that the Mt. Gunnison 
viewer would ever be subjected to this condition. 

3.1.3.6 Effects of Alternatives C and D 

Air quality impacts resulting rom Alternatives C and D would be the same as described in 
Section 3.1 .3.4, Effects of Alternative B including Cumulative Impacts, except the effects would 
be extended given the duration of operations expected in Alternatives C and D. 

3.1.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

Based on the predicted air quality impacts for the action alternatives, the following air quality 
mitigations are suggested: 



> 



Colorado APCD will continue to enforce the emission controls, emission monitoring, 
and emission reporting that are specified in the APEN air quality permits for any 
mining operations that extract coal from the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tracts. 

- EPA and Colorado APCD will continue to enforce the emission standards for diesel 
locomotives and diesel off-road equipment that have recently been enacted by EPA. 

3.2 TOPOGRAPHY/PHYSIOGRAPHY 

Issue: Identify the potential for subsidence by underground mining activities. 
3.2.1 Introduction 

The analysis area encompasses the lands within and immediately surrounding the exploration 
license area and the coal lease tracts. Topography of the general area ranges from steep to 
relatively flat. Elevations range from slightly over 5,600 feet in the North Fork of the Gunnison 
River Valley near the town of Paonia to elevations over 10,000 feet in the mountains 
surrounding the exploration license and lease tract areas. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



I 

I 

S 



I 

B 

s. 

s 

a 
3 

a 

£? 

I 

o 

I 

a 



Table 3.1-17 
Summary of PLUVUE Results 


Viewing Direction 


Early am (6:40) 


Noon 


6:40 


pm 


Early Evening (7:40 pm) 


E(L*a*b*) 


Contrast 


E(L*a*b*) 


Contrast 


E(L*a*b*) 


Contrast 


E(L*a*b*) 


Contrast 


Worst-Case Wind Condition 1.0 mps and F Stability 




NW, almost directly toward mine 


0.76 


0.014 


0.89 


0.035 


2.6 


0.083 


5.57 


0.11 


Cross-plume, WSW toward Delta 


0.42 


0.001 


0.106 


0.002 


0.87 


0.005 


0.61 


0.007 


Average Wind Condition at West Elk Mine and Grand Junction NWS Station: 3.6 mps and D Stability 


NW, almost directly toward mine 


0.55 


0.004 


0.22 


0.009 


0.99 


0.019 


1.42 


0.041 


Cross-plume, WSW toward Delta 


0.54 


0.003 


0.084 


0.001 


0.98 


0.004 


0.41 


0.002 


Impacted Viewing Angles for Worst-Case Meteorology (1.0 m/sec and D Stability) 










Sunrise 


None 




Mid-day 


None 




Sunset 


Closer than 20° toward mine 




Impacted viewing Angles for Average Meteorology (3.6 m/sec and D Stability) 




Sunrise 


None 




Mid-day 


None 




Sunset 


None 




Source: Mine Area Centered at Bowie No. 2 

Viewer: Top of Mt. Gunnison at NW corner of West Elk Wilderness 

Wind Conditions: Blowing from mine in a direct 1 1 .5° southwest of the viewer 

Background Visual Range: 292 km (annual 90 lh percentile) 

Emissions: Emission Increase in the Paonia-Somerset Area, Proposed Action - No-Action 

Nox 65.5 tpy PM 131 tpy S02 9.5 tpy 
Impact Thresholds 

E(L*a*b*): Perceptible at 1 .0, significant impact at 2.0 

Contrast: Perceptible at 0.02, significant impact at 0.05 






Page 3-46 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.2.2 Affected Environment 

The elevations in the Iron Point Exploration License area range from about 6,400 feet in the 
Hubbard Creek drainage and 7,500 feet in the Terror Creek drainage to over 8,400 feet in an 
area west of Terror Creek Reservoir. The exploration license area is drained by both Terror 
Creek and Hubbard Creek. These drainages flow in a general north-south orientation and 
empty into the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley. 

The elevations in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract range from approximately 6,400 feet in the 
Hubbard Creek drainage and 6,800 feet in the Terror Creek drainage to over 8,200 feet on the 
upper reaches of the lease tract. The Iron Point Coal Lease Tract is drained by Terror Creek 
and Hubbard Creek. These drainages flow in a general north-south orientation and empty into 
the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley. 

The elevations in the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract range from about 6,400 feet in the Hubbard 
Creek drainage and 6,700 feet in the Bear Creek drainage to over 8,500 feet in the upper 
reaches of the tract. The Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract is drained by Hubbard Creek, Bear 
Creek, and Elk Creek. These drainages flow in a general north-south orientation and empty 
into the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 

The topography of the area has also been greatly influenced by a wide range of mass- 
movement landforms and processes within the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley, 
including localized natural landslides and rock falls in the Hubbard Creek drainage. Landsliding 
in this region is usually preceded, accompanied, and followed by perceptible creep along the 
surface of sliding or within the slide mass. Landslides, rock falls, and other areas of general 
geologic/topographic instability are shown on Figure 1 1, Geologic Hazards Map. 

3.2.3 Environmental Consequences 

3.2.3.1 Summary 

The actual leasing of the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would impose no 
topographic change on the tracts. Similarly, the exploration activities as proposed for the Iron 
Point Exploration License area would have no noticeable topographic impact. 

If the tracts are leased subsequent underground longwall mining would cause subsidence as 
discussed in Appendix F, Overview of Underground Coal Mining, and Appendix K, Subsidence 
Evaluation. Subsidence would be most notable on ridges and steeper slopes, particularly cliffs, 
where cracks might open on the order of a few inches to possibly 1 -foot wide and 25 to 50 feet 
deep. Fewer cracks would occur in the valleys than on ridges, because the vaiieys are more 
stable and the alluvial material found in the valleys tends to be more yieldable than some of the 
brittle bedrock found on the ridges. Subsidence from longwall mining could aggravate the 
movement of existing landslides and rock falls. 

3.2.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

If the No-Action Alternative is selected, there would be no exploration activities in the Iron Point 
Exploration License area, and no mining activities would occur in either the Iron Point or the Elk 
Creek Coal Lease Tracts. Thus, there would be no topographic changes as a result of such 



September 1999 ^ Chapter 3 



Page 3-47 



activities. Natural Iandsiiding and rock falls would continue, particularly in the Hubbard Creek 
drainage given its existing, natural geologic instability. 

3.2.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 

Subsidence amounts and processes regarding longwall mining are discussed in a general 
manner in Appendix F, Overview of Underground Coal Mining, and in Appendix K, Subsidence 
Evaluation. Subsidence does occur in areas above longwall mining. The amount of 
subsidence above longwall mining depends on many factors including the mine plans, the coal 
thickness, the geologic strata, and the overburden depth. As a general rule, the greater the 
overburden thickness, the less the surface subsidence. For example, assuming a coal 
extraction thickness of 12 feet for the D seam in the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, surface 
subsidence would be expected to be 7 to 8 feet for those areas with 500 feet of overburden. At 
overburden depths of 2,000 to 2,500 feet, surface subsidence would be projected between 1 
and 3 feet. The subsidence over the gate roads (entries on either side of a longwall panel) is 
typically 1 to 2 feet less than the panel itself. 

Topographic changes caused by subsidence under longwall mining are often unnoticeable to 
the untrained eye. As longwall mining proceeds under a particular area, there would be some 
cracking on the surface. As mining proceeds away from the area, this surface cracking tends to 
disappear, although the elevation of the area would be lower. In certain areas, such as the 
alluvial material in drainage areas, the alluvium may be stretched but will not rupture when mine 
subsidence occurs. 

Subsidence at any given point on the surface begins when the longwall face is beneath that 
point and is generally 90 percent complete when the longwall face has passed at 1 .2 to 1 .4 
times the overburden depth beyond the point of mining. For example, at 500 foot depth of 
overburden, the subsidence beneath longwall mining would be 90 percent complete within 
about a month when the longwall face is 600 to 700 feet beyond that point on the surface. 
Other than lowering the land surface, the long-term effects of subsidence on surface 
topography would be minimal, and even unnoticeable to most casual observers. Some residual 
cracks may remain in the more brittle bedrock material on ridges or cliffs, but overall, the 
topography above subsided longwall mining workings would be similar to the pre-mining 
topography, albeit lower in elevation. 

Subsidence from underground mining could aggravate, and perhaps even accelerate, the 
existing landslides and rock falls in the area, particularly those geologic hazards that occur in an 
area where the overburden depth is less than 500 feet. Other natural factors may cause an 
acceleration of impacts, these factors being separate from subsidence. For example, in an 
extremely wet spring, the moisture from snowmelt and spring rains could cause these natural 
landslides and rock falls to move and shift. This seems to have been the case in the mid 
1980s, during a period of intense precipitation and moisture. It is difficult to assess whether the 
naturally occurring landslide and other unstable areas have been aggravated by subsidence. 

There are no anticipated indirect long-term topographic impacts expected for the surface 
utilized for underground mining activities. These areas would be regraded and recontoured 
following mining closure and removal of structures in such a manner that the area would blend 
into the surrounding undisturbed terrain. See Section 2.7, Reclamation Measures. 



Page 3-48 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.2.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 

Only minor direct surface disturbances would be associated with the exploration (roads, drill 
sites) and potential mining of the two coal lease tracts (roads, ventilation raises, and 
degasification borehole pads). Such direct surface disturbance activities would not affect the 
topography of the area, and any surface disturbing activities would be reclaimed as set forth in 
Section 2.7, Reclamation Measures. 

As explained in both Appendix F, Overview of Underground Coal Mining, and Appendix K, 
Subsidence Evaluation, there is a potential for surface subsidence as a result of longwall 
mining. The amount of subsidence would depend on the overburden depth, but it would be 
relatively uniform across the topography and would not leave irregularly shaped depressions on 
the surface. Rather, the subsidence would be relatively uniform (i.e., the change in elevation 
due to subsidence would be essentially the same across each tract). On the fringes of the 
subsidence, some tension cracks may be visible, but they may heal with time. Some cracks, 
especially in bedrock never heal. 

3.2.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 

The impacts of Alternative C would be similar to those described Section 3.2.3.2, Effects 
Common to All Alternatives, and Section 3.2.3.4, Effects of Alternative B (Proposed Action). 
The exception with Alternative C would be that the amount of subsidence anticipated with 
multiple-seam mining would be greater than that of single seam longwall mining. An estimated 
maximum average subsidence for extraction of both the D and B coal seams would be 13 feet. 
See Appendix K, Subsidence Evaluation, for further information. 

3.2.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 

The impacts of alternative D would be similar to those of Alternative C, except extra precautions 
(barner pillars, buffer zones, etc.) would be taken to prevent any subsidence in the Terror Creek 
and Hubbard Creek drainages, and beneath the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV electric 
transmission line which is located in the Terror Creek drainage. 

3.2.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

No additional mitigation and monitoring measures are suggested. Subsidence monitoring is a 
requirement of the mine permit issued by the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology 
(DMG). If surface cracks occur that affect other uses (roads, trails, etc.), the surface 
management agencies have authority to require timely on-site mitigation. 

3.3 GEOLOGY 

Issue: Identify geologic hazards on the lease sites and the potential for subsidence by 
underground mining activities. Areas of concern include the potential influence of geologic 
hazards; the potential for and consequences of subsidence; the effects of mining on the area's 
geology, including seismicity. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3 . 49 

3.3.1 Introduction 

The characteristics of a coal deposit dictate the most economical and practical mining 
application. See Appendix E, Mining Economics. Geologic data and the interpretations form 
the basis for mine evaluation and mine production by providing coal reserve estimates and 
geologic structure data (such as dip, faults, fracture patterns, etc.). For underground mining 
operations, geologic information is used to assess subsidence. 

3.3.2 Affected Environment 
3.3.2.1 General Geology 

The Iron Point Exploration License area, and the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, 
lie in the Paonia-Somerset coal field which contains medium to high coal development potential 
deposits. The main coal beds within this area are found in the Upper Cretaceous Mesa Verde 
Formation, which is overlain by the Tertiary Wasatch formation and underlain by the Upper 
Cretaceous Mancos Shale. See Figure 12, Typical Geologic Cross-Section. 

In addition to the sedimentary units in the region, isolated igneous intrusions have been 
encountered. Iron Point, located in Section 27, T12S, R91 W, is an example of an igneous 
intrusion. Preliminary geologic data indicates that another intrusion may have compromised the 
coal in the northwest portion of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. 

The coal bearing sedimentary strata of the Mesa Verde Formation are relatively flat lying with a 
regional dip of approximately five degrees to the north/northeast. Local dips can vary. 

The principal mineable coal seams on the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract are the "D" seam and the 
"B" seam. Other seams within the tract, A, C, and E, are either considered too thin (less than 6 
feet) or are too discontinuous to mine. In the case of the "B" seam, there has been historic 
mining of this seam on the Iron Point Tract. 

The primary mineable coal seam on the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract is the "D" seam. On this 
tract, the A and E coal seams are either considered too thin (less than 6 feet) or are too 
discontinuous to mine. The B and C coal seams on the Elk Creek Tract were historically mined. 

The overburden overlying the D seam in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract is generally greater 
than 500 feet, with the exception of areas under and immediately adjacent to Hubbard Creek. 
In the northern part of the tract, overburden over the D seam is typically over 1 ,500 feet. The D 
seam is over 2,000 feet beneath the Terror Creek Reservoir. See Figure 13, D Seam 
Overburden Isopach. Overburden underlying Terror Creek ranges from 500 to 1 ,200 feet. 

The overburden overlying the D seam in the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract is typically greater 
than 500 feet and reaches over 2,500 feet at the northeastern boundary of the tract. See 
Figure 13, D Seam Overburden Isopach. 

Outcropping on both the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts are the Tertiary Wasatch 
Formation, Upper Cretaceous Mesa Verde Formation, and Quaternary deposits. The 
Cretaceous Mancos Shale does not outcrop on the lease tracts but lies below the Mesa Verde 
Formation. The following is a brief overview of the geologic units in the area: 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-50 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

- Quaternary Deposits: The Quaternary deposits are an unsorted mixture of soil and 
rock formed by various mass-wasting processes such as landslides, earth flows, soil 
creep, and debris avalanches. These deposits also include slope colluvium and 
Quaternary unconsolidated deposits derived from the Wasatch Formation. 

► Wasatch Formation (Tertiary): The Wasatch formation overlies the Mesa Verde 
Formation. It consists of red and buff shales and red sandstones in the upper part of 
the formation, and red to gray conglomerates in the lower portion. The Ohio Creek 
conglomerate, which is the basil conglomerate unit, is a regional marker and 
commonly referenced geologic mapping datum. 

► Mesa Verde Formation (Cretaceous): The Mesa Verde Formation is the primary 
coal bearing formation in this region and conformably overlies the Mancos Shale 
Formation. It consists of approximately 2,300 feet of interbedded coal seams, 
sandstones, shales, and siltstones. The Mesa Verde Formation consists of the 
Barren Member, Paonia Member, Bowie Member, and Rollins Sandstone Member. 
The Barren Member is approximately 1 ,600 feet in thickness and contains no coal 
seams. The Paonia Member ranges from approximately 300 to 500 feet and is 
composed of shales and interbedded sandstone. The Paonia Member contains the 
D and E coal seams. The Bowie Member ranges from 270 to 350 feet thick and 
consists primarily of grey shales, interbedded lenticular sandstones, and coal seams. 
The Bowie Member contains the A, B, and C coal seams. The Rollins Sandstone 
ranges from 120 to 200 feet in thickness, and it is a massive, cross-bedded medium 
to coarse grained, buff to white sandstone unit. The Rollins Sandstone lies 
conformably on the underlying Mancos Shale and is relatively continuous throughout 
the area, thus serving as a common marker bed. 

► Mancos Shale (Cretaceous): The Mancos Shale is a regionally extensive bed of 
marine shales ranging up to 4,000 feet in thickness. In the lease tracts, it underlies 
the exposed geologic sequence. However, west of the town of Somerset, the North 
Fork of the Gunnison River has cut through the upper portion of the Mancos Shale, 
exposing the grey marine shales so prominent with this formation. 

A northwest trending fault may be present in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. Other undetected 
faults may also occur. 

3.3.2.2 Geologic Hazards 

As discussed in Section 3.2, Topography/Physiography, the area within and surrounding the 
Iron Point Exploration License area and the two coal lease tracts, have numerous existing 
natural landslide areas and other unstable slopes. See Figure 1 1, Geologic Hazards Map. 

The geologic hazards have been mapped in accordance with state of Colorado House Bill 1041 
(C.R.S. 1973, 24-65.1-101, et. seq.). As defined in House Bill 1041, a geologic hazard means 
"a geologic phenomenon which is so adverse to past, current, or foreseeable construction or 
land use as to constitute a significant hazard to public health and safety or to property." House 
Bill 1041 also points out that geologic hazards, which are a normal dynamic process, can be 
intensified or lessened by human activity. In any event, regardless of the intensity, hazards 
should be recognized and considered prior to any land use changes. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3 . 51 

Most of the geologic hazards observed in the exploration license area and coal lease tracts are 
historic in nature. However, during periods of high to very high precipitation in the mid 1980s, 
there was renewed movement of existing landslides and the development of new landslides in 
unstable slopes. Such areas of recent movement have been identified on Figure 11, Geologic 
Hazards Map. 

3.3.2.3 Other Geologic Resources 

The potential for the discovery of conventional resources of oil and gas under the Iron Point and 
Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts appears to be very slight. Dry wells have been drilled to the 
Dakota Sandstone a few miles to the southwest and to the northwest of the lease tract areas. 
There are no oil and gas leases located on or near the exploration license area or the lease 
application tracts. Methane is found in the coal seams and is released with mining to the 
surface for the safety of the mining operation. Other coal seams in the project area are not 
considered economically recoverable. 

3.3.3 Environmental Consequences 

3.3.3.1 Summary 

There would be negligible effect to the geologic resources as a result of drilling activities in the 
exploration license area. 

If leasing and mining proceeds on the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, coal would 
be removed, and the overlying overburden material would be altered through subsidence. The 
coal would be extracted, and the existing geologic structure and lithologic continuity in the area 
above the mined coal would be altered by subsidence. See Appendix F, Overview of 
Underground Coal Mining and Appendix K, Subsidence Evaluation. 

Indirect Effects - There are no indirect geologic effects expected for any of the alternatives. 
No effects to the Terror Creek Reservoir would occur because the leaks would not be offered. 
See Appendix K. Subsidence Evaluation. 

Cumulative Effects - A considerable amount of the area in the North Fork of the Gunnison 
River Valley near Somerset has been mined by historic mining activities. See Appendix G, 
Historic Coal Mining Activity. There has been subsidence in a number of the areas above the 
historic mining; however, there has been no known damage to resources or overlying structures 
attributable to this subsidence. In some cases, near the coal subcrop areas, where overburden 
material is minimal, subsidence may have contributed or aggravated landslide movements, but 
this determination is difficult to quantify given the natural (pre-mining) geologic instability in 
many areas in the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley. 

3.3.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

If the No-Action Alternative is selected, coal would not be disturbed by exploration and would 
not be mined in the lease tracts. The coal resource and the structural and lithologic integrity of 
the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would remain in-place. The potential to recover 
the coal resource at some time in the future would remain. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-52 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.3.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 

Direct Effects - In all alternatives, coal would be mined by longwall techniques. After coal 
recovery, the overburden would be altered due to subsidence. See Appendix K, Subsidence 
Evaluation. Subsidence would occur due to the extraction of coal on retreat from the longwall 
panels. There would be a gradual lowering of the surface after the longwall shearer removes 
the coal. Some cracking would be evident as the shearer passes, and along the fringes of the 
extracted panel. However, due to the thickness of the overburden in the two lease tracts, it is 
anticipated that subsidence would not be easily evidenced to casual observers. Rock falls at 
the outcrop could occur, but the historic (pre-mining) burning of the coal along the outcrop 
(causing the reddish coloration in the strata in the valley) would preclude a significant amount of 
mining close to the outcrop; therefore, rock falls induced by subsidence would be unlikely. 
There is a potential that mining subsidence could aggravate existing landslides and other 
geologic hazards in the Hubbard Creek drainage. See Figure 11, Geologic Hazards Map. 

The relative potential of mine subsidence is graphically illustrated on Figure 14, Subsidence 
Potential Map. This map represents a compilation of the overburden depth to the D coal seam 
in relation to the geologic hazards of the area, as shown on Figure 1 1, Geologic Hazards Map. 
Typically, those areas showing "high to very high" subsidence potential are those regions under 
500 feet of overburden cover to the coal seam combined with areas that presently exhibit 
landslide, rock falls, or other geologically unstable stratum. The potential impacts are lessened 
with the depth of overburden, with potential subsidence impacts of "low to very low" being 
typically those areas greater than 1 ,500 feet of overburden depth to the coal seam. The impact 
zones shown on Figure 14, Subsidence Potential Map, are based on conservative assumptions, 
and the actual impacts may be less than suggested on the map. 

The duration of subsidence resulting from mining is composed of both an active and residual 
phase. Active subsidence refers to movements occurring simultaneously with the mining 
operations, while residual subsidence is that part of the surface deformation that occurs 
following the cessation of mining. 

Time spans during which surface subsidence may occur vary with the mining method being 
used. Longwall mining induces subsidence rapidly, beginning almost immediately after mining. 
With room and pillar mining, major occurrences of surface subsidence may be delayed for 
decades until the support pillars have substantially deteriorated and collapsed. See Appendix 
F, Overview of Underground Coal Mining. 

The duration of residual subsidence movements above longwall panels is relatively short, 
typically varying from a few weeks up to ten years. On the other hand, in room and pillar 
mining, without pillar recovery, the magnitude of active subsidence is generally small, and the 
ground surface may experience a variable frequency of subsidence incidents during this pillar 
period. Sometime after room and pillar mining, however, complete collapse of abandoned 
pillars in the adjacent strata may occur as a result of natural causes or human activities. These 
processes are likely to continue until all the voids created by mining excavation have been filled 
by caved stratum. Consequently, in the case of room and pillar mining, the residual subsidence 
can result in major subsidence measured on the surface. 

Residual subsidence from historic room and pillar mining has and will continue to create mining 
induced seismic events in the area. For example, seismic events from the now abandoned 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-53 

Somerset Mine have been measured on the Richter Scale at the U.S. Geological Survey 
(USGS) Earthquake Center in Golden, Colorado. See Appendix K, Subsidence Evaluation. 

Mining induced seismic events as a result of longwall mining would be minimal. These events 
should not inflict any damage to surface resources or overlying structures. It is not likely that 
any low energy seismic events as a result of longwall subsidence would cause damage to any 
existing structures in the area, structures such as the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV electric 
transmission line or the Terror Creek Reservoir impoundment structures. 

3.3.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 

The effects of Alternative B would be the same as those described in Section 3.3.3.3, Effects 
Common to All Action Alternatives. 

3.3.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 

The impacts of Alternative C would be similar to those described in Section 3.3.3.2, Effects 
Common to All Alternatives, with the exception that the amount of subsidence anticipated with 
multiple seam mining of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract would be slightly greater than those of 
Alternative B. Even with multiple seam mining, the subsidence should be fairly uniform over the 
entire lease tract. Overburden deformation (i.e., fracturing) can migrate further into the 
overburden with multiple seam coal mining. See Appendix K, Subsidence Evaluation. 

3.3.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 

Effects would be similar to Alternative C, except that special subsidence protection (i.e., barrier 
pillars, buffer zones, etc.) would be required for those areas under and immediately adjacent to 
Hubbard Creek, Terror Creek, and the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV electric transmission line. 

3.3.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

Subsidence monitoring programs acceptable to the Colorado DMG would be implemented for 
both coal lease tracts. No other monitoring is recommended. 

3.4 SOILS 

Issue: Identify and protect soil resources for future reclamation uses. Provide for reclamation 
of areas disturbed by surface facilities. 

3.4.1 Introduction 

Soils information and technical data were taken from two soil surveys completed for the project 
area. An Order III soil survey, entitled Soil Survey of Grand Mesa-West Elk Area (Cryer and 
Hughes, 1997) was used to characterize and describe the soils overlying that portion of the 
project area administered by the Forest Service. A soil survey completed by the Natural 
Resources Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) entitled Soil Survey 
of Paonia Area, Colorado (Hunter 1981) was obtained and used to describe and characterize 
the soils overlying the privately held and BLM-administered lands within the project area 
boundary. These surveys each contain soil maps depicting the areal extent of the soils mapped 
as well as map unit descriptions, typical pedon descriptions, and interpretation tables which 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-54 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

were used to develop the text presented below. These two soil surveys were not correlated, 
and the map unit boundaries merging along federal and private land boundaries do not 
necessarily meet. No site-specific soil baseline studies were conducted for the coal lease or 
exploration license areas as a part of this project nor are any other relevant soil reports known 
to exist which could provide applicable soils baseline information. 

3.4.2 Affected Environment 

3.4.2.1 General Soil Properties 

A total of 32 soil map units, characterized by 38 soil series, families or miscellaneous 
groupings, were delineated within the project area. These soils are forming in response to the 
wide variety of parent materials, elevations, slopes, aspects, and rates of material weathering 
common to the project area as a whole. Consequently, these soils exhibit a wide variety of 
characteristics in terms of soil properties and use interpretations. Figure 15, Soil Map, depicts 
the 32 soil map units delineated. 

Soils overlying mountain side slopes and toe slopes are developing in residuum and colluvium 
from sandstone and shale sources, as well as from some mixed alluvium parent materials. 
These soils occur on slopes typically ranging from 20 to 70 percent and are primarily deep to 
very deep, well drained, and have moderate to high available water capacities. Soil textures 
are highly variable ranging from loams to very stony clays for surface soils and from loams to 
very cobbly clays for subsurface soil horizons. Coarse fragment percentages increase with 
depth. The mass movement potential is rated as moderate to high for most of these map units, 
though low ratings are common for lesser slope angles. 

Soils of canyon, mesa, ridge, mountain, and valley side slopes are highly variable given the broad 
topographic range of this grouping. Parent materials include interbedded sandstones, shales, and 
mixed igneous rock types. Slopes range from 5 to 90 percent. These soils are shallow to very 
deep, well drained, and typically exhibit low to medium available water capacities. Surface textures 
range from clay loams to extremely stony loams while subsurface textures range from stoney 
sandy loams to very cobbly clays. The mass movement potential is low to high given the broad 
slope range. 

Deep, well-drained soils with moderate to high available water capacities overlie the fans and 
associated landforms of the project area. Alluvium and landslide materials from mixed rock 
sources are the dominant parent materials. Slopes range from nearly level to 40 percent with 
lesser slopes predominating. Soil textures range from loams to stony loams for surface soils 
and from clays to extremely cobbly loamy sands for subsurface soil horizons. The mass 
movement potential is rated as low to medium. 

Rock outcrops occur across the project area and are expressed as bare rock exposures of 
canyon walls, escarpments, and very steep upland side slopes. Little in the way of soil is 
included in these map units. 

3.4.2.2 Soil Salvage and Reclamation Suitability 

Soil salvage depths were selected considering the limited disturbances proposed, and 
assuming that for the majority of disturbed unsalvaged subsoils would remain in place and 
would be available as a subgrade growth medium following facility decommissioning. Map unit 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 p age 3 . 55 

slopes were not considered since the range of slopes within a map unit often includes slope 
angles both accessible and inaccessible to salvage equipment. 

The soils overlying the project area exhibit a comparatively narrow range of characteristics with 
respect to salvage suitability. Proposed total salvage depths typically range from 10 to 24 
inches and include both surface and subsurface soil materials. The main constraints to deeper 
soil salvage across the coal lease and exploration license areas relate to physical soil 
characteristics and include high subsoil coarse fragment content (>35 % by volume) and high 
clay content (clay textures). Low pH values (<6.0) and shallow depths to bedrock also 
constrain salvage depth for a number of map units. 

The in-place reclamation suitability of the soil map units of the lease areas range from low to 
high given typical soil characteristics and the slope angles upon which the soils are present. 
Soil chemical characteristics are not normally limiting with respect to reclamation suitability. 
Soil physical characteristics such as surface stones, slow permeability, clayey textures, and low 
available water capacity limit the suitability of several units. Topographic and related factors 
such as slope and erosion potential, respectively, also limit the suitability of many of the coal 
lease tracts and exploration license area map units. 

3.4.2.3 Erosion Hazard 

Erosion hazard of the soils present is highly variable. Generally, as slope increases, water 
erosion hazard increases. Map units having slopes of approximately 25 percent or less 
typically have a low or medium hazard, while steeper slopes have medium to high hazards. 
Rock outcrops and rubble areas also have low water erosion hazard ratings. The hazard of 
wind erosion is slight for the vast majority of these map units. 

3.4.3 Environmental Consequences 
3.4.3.1 Summary 

Approximately 33.5 acres (see Section 2.4, Alternative B) would be directly impacted by the 
construction of various boreholes, shafts, light-use access roads, and drill pads associated with 
surface activities and exploration. These soils, given the variability of the project area in terms 
of parent materials, slope, aspect, etc., are highly variable in and of themselves with respect to 
chemical and physical characteristics. Suitable salvage depths are comparatively shallow with 
deeper salvage typically constrained by high coarse fragment contents and heavy clay textures. 

Direct impacts to soils include the salvage and stockpiling of selected surface soils for later re- 
application, compaction, and erosion. Given the size and form of the individual facilities making 
up the proposed disturbed acreage, as well as the regulatory requirements for revegetation, the 
direct impacts to soils are limited and considered to be short-term and mitigable. The sole 
indirect impact to soils, potential subsidence-induced cracking, would have a limited surface 
impact on the soil resource. Soil cracks tend to heal naturally, and represent a short-term 
disturbance. The proposed disturbance of 33.5 acres represents an increase of 10 percent 
over the acreage of soils disturbed by coal operation in the project area to date, and less than 1 
percent of the acreage included in the lease tracts and exploration license area as a whole. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-56 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



3.4.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

Under the No-Action Alternative, the project area would essentially remain in its endemic state 
supporting current land uses. No direct or indirect affects associated with the reasonable 
foreseeable actions listed for either lease area or the exploration area are anticipated. Future 
impacts to soils would parallel historic impacts barring any unforeseen future developments or 
changes in grazing or timber harvesting policies. 

3.4.3.3 Direct Effects Common to AH Action Alternatives 

Direct impacts to soils under all alternatives would result from the development of exploration 
and degasification boreholes, exhaust and ventilation shafts, and construction of any necessary 
spur roads to access these facilities. A total of 33.5 acres of surface soils, at a maximum, 
would be affected by these actions as depicted in Table 3.4-1, Acreage of Potential Disturbance 
by Facility Type-All Alternatives. 



Table 3.4-1 
Acreage of Potential Disturbance by Facility Type - All Alternatives 


Proposed Lease 
Element 


Exploration 
Boreholes 


Degasification 
Boreholes 


Exhaust 
Shafts 


Ventilation 
Shafts 


Roads 


Iron Point Exploration 
Area 


6.5* 


NA 


NA 


NA 


5.0 


Iron Point 
Lease Area 


NA 


2.0 


3.0 


NA 


5.0 


Elk Creek 
Lease Area 


NA 


4.0 


NA 


1.0 


7.0 


Totals 


6.5 


6.0 


3.0 


1.0 


17.0 


* Includes five holes that 


are within the potential boundary of the Iron Point Coal Les 


se Tract. 





Impacts to the soil resource include those which would affect the chemical, physical, and 
microbial nature of endemic soil materials. Erosion is a potential impact which must also be 
considered. Soil chemical parameters would be permanently modified as a result of any soil 
salvage program whereby surface soils would be stockpiled or wind-rowed along the borders of 
areas to be disturbed by various shafts, boreholes, and road construction. Surface soil 
horizons would be mixed during stockpiling or windrowing resulting in a blending of 
characteristics as compared to the soils in their natural state. Soil chemistry would also be 
modified through stockpiling as anaerobic conditions within the stockpiles would develop. The 
volume of soil to be stockpiled would be limited, and the time the soils would exist in such 
stockpiles would be comparatively short for most disturbances. Therefore, changes in soil 
chemistry due to this activity are considered to be short-term and redeemable to a level 
commensurate with vegetation establishment following resoiling. 

Isolated spill accidents, should they occur, could result in minor soil contamination from oils, 
solvents, etc. Soils so affected can be buried to effectively reduce the effects of this impact. 
The volume of soil subject to spills should be limited, however, given the plan to stockpile 
suitable surface soils prior to operational disturbances. No impact to revegetation potential is 
anticipated. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 p age 3-57 

A number of soil physical characteristics such as structure, texture, and rock fragment content 
would be permanently modified through blending during stockpiling and soil replacement 
operations. Given that only suitable soils would be salvaged, this is not considered to be a 
negative impact. Compaction in heavily trafficked operational areas would likely reduce the 
aeration, permeability, and water-holding capacity of impacted soils. Ripping and similar 
surface manipulations are proposed as a part of the reclamation plan to address compaction 
concerns. The effects of compaction would be reduced to a short-term impact through the 
proper application of such techniques, and natural freeze-thaw cycles, over time. 

Soil microbial and fungal populations could also change resulting in a potential loss of nitrifying 
bacteria and mycorrhizal species due to stockpiling. Microbe and fungal populations should re- 
establish over time, typically through natural invasion via wind, drainage water, and animal 
vectors from nearby adjacent undisturbed areas. This is a generally accepted premise in the 
west based on observations of previously mined and reclaimed areas where stockpiled soil has 
been respread and revegetation has been successful. It is particularly true for these proposed 
disturbances given their limited individual sizes and, in the case of roads, a linear form. This is 
considered to be a short-term, mitigable impact with no reduction in reclamation potential 
expected. 

Wind erosion is not expected to occur on exposed areas where salvageable soil has been 
removed. The potential for wind erosion on the project area is low due to the surrounding 
topography, comparatively dense endemic vegetation communities, and the surface soil rock 
fragment content. It may also be noted that the expected disturbances are comparatively small 
and narrow, a condition not conducive to the forces of wind erosion. In addition, temporary soil 
stockpiles would be stabilized following stockpiling operations and all disturbed areas would be 
revegetated following decommissioning. 

The potential for soil erosion by water ranges from "low" to "high" across the soils of the coal 
lease tracts and exploration license area. Grading to permit facility construction would typically 
occur on slopes less than 40 percent and result in nearly level construction areas having 
comparatively short slope lengths. Such conditions result in a low short-term potential for water 
erosion for any soils impacted by various shafts and boreholes. Construction of spur roads to 
shaft and drill pad areas would also result in a low short-term erosion potential for these same 
reasons. All disturbances of this nature must be reclaimed per state and federal regulations 
following decommissioning. The small acreages and short slopes involved, coupled with 
required soil salvage, result in a moderate to high revegetation potential for any surface 
disturbances. 

3.4.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 

Other than the direct affects discussed above, the only additional potential impact to the soil 
resource is from subsidence, stemming from underground longwall mining operations. The 
effect of subsidence would manifest itself as cracks forming on the soil surface followed by a 
slumping,- or settling, of the ground elevation as the geologic strata cave, at depth, behind the 
retreating longwall operation. Some cracks would remain on the surface at the conclusion of 
mining. These cracks typically occur on the surface over gate roads and the edges of longwall 
panels. These cracks would not likely be visible to any degree due to the existing vegetation 
and the propensity of these cracks to naturally fill. The acreage of soil which would be denuded 
by cracking cannot be calculated but would likely be minimal considering the acreage involved. 
It is unlikely that a measurable volume of soil would be lost to erosion given the linear nature 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-58 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

and short slope lengths of these features. Similarly, no measurable decrease in soil 
productivity is expected. 

3.4.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 

Compared to Alternative B, the affects of subsidence under this alternative would be greater 
given the somewhat larger lease areas involved, along with the employment of multi-seam 
mining activities. With multi-seam mining, the depth to which geologic strata cave behind the 
retreating longwall machine would be greater which, in turn, could result in deeper surface 
cracks. In terms of the acreage involved, the lease areas under Alternative C are 
approximately 673 acres (approximately 10 percent) greater than under Alternative B. 
Therefore, a somewhat larger acreage could be subject to the effects of subsidence. 

3.4.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 

Alternative D is identical to Alternative C except that subsidence would not be permitted under 
specific areas such as Terror Creek, Hubbard Creek, or the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV electric 
transmission line. Therefore, the effects to soils as a result of multi-seam mining would be the 
same, only over a slightly smaller lease area. 

3.4.4 Cumulative Impacts 

The acreage of soils proposed to be affected by surface disturbances on the coal lease tracts 
and exploration license areas totals approximately 33.5 acres. Approximately 70 acres of 
previous disturbances are associated with the existing Bowie No. 2 Mine with an additional 10 
to15 acres of disturbance planned under other proposed permits. At the Sanborn Creek Mine, 
approximately 95 acres have been disturbed and an additional 15 acres of disturbance is 
planned for the Elk Creek portal area. Therefore, the acreage of soils proposed to be directly 
affected by any alternative under consideration represents an increase in disturbed area of 
approximately 10 percent. The proposed disturbances equal less than 1 percent of the total 
acreage involved with the exploration license area and coal lease tracts. The impacts related to 
subsidence would not measurably increase these acreage relationships. 

3.4.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

Proper soil management and reclamation measures are required by the surface management 
agencies on disturbed sites. Colorado DMG would also require proper soil management 
procedures as part of their exploration and mine permits. 

3.5 SURFACE WATER HYDROLOGY 

Issue: Identify and minimize impacts to water quality and hydrology to maintain the integrity of 
watersheds within and surrounding the lease tract areas. Maintain adequate flows to drainages 
and ditches above underground mining activity. Areas of concern include: the potential to alter 
existing hydrologic systems; the potential to impact irrigation canals and the Terror Creek Reservoir 
by subsidence; alteration of downstream flow rates; alteration of existing springs and seeps; 
changes in surface water chemistry as a result of mining operations; and, impacts to water rights 
on Terror Creek, Hubbard Creek, Bear Creek, and Elk Creek. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Septembers Chapter 3 Page 3-59 

3.5.1 Introduction 

The study area required to address the impacts to surface water hydrology from leasing the 
Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts and the Iron Point Exploration License area is 
defined by the watershed boundaries of the local drainages (Figure 16, Regional Hydrology 
Map). The following sections include discussion of the regional hydrologic setting, flow 
characteristics within the surface drainage system, analysis of surface water quality, water 
rights, and environmental consequences of exploration and mining on surface water resources. 

The following information sources were used for this evaluation: 

► Surface water quality and quantity data for regional hydrology from the USGS; 

- Surface water quality and quantity data for the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tracts and the Iron Point Exploration License area from Bowie and Oxbow; 

► Surface water rights information for the drainages in the vicinity of the study area 
from the Colorado State Engineers Office, Division of Water Resources; and, 

► Review of Bowie and Oxbow data, including annual hydrology reports, permit 
applications, and other reports related to surface water hydrology. 

To respond to issues raised during scoping, effects of subsidence on Terror Creek Reservoir 
were included in the analysis. It should be noted that the Terror Creek Reservoir is not within 
the proposed Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and is outside the area of influence defined by the 
subsidence angle of draw. See Figure 14, Subsidence Potential Map, and Appendix K, 
Subsidence Evaluation. 

3.5.2 Affected Environment 

The iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts and the Iron Point Exploration License area 
are located within the North Fork of the Gunnison River basin. 

3.5.2.1 Regional Surface Water Hydrology 

The North Fork of the Gunnison River drains the coal lease and exploration license areas. The 
North Fork of the Gunnison River joins the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River downstream of 
the Hotchkiss fish hatchery to become the Gunnison River. 

There are two USGS monitoring locations along this reach: North Fork of the Gunnison River 
near Somerset, Colorado (Station No. 09132500), and North Fork of the Gunnison River below 
Leroux Creek, near Hotchkiss, Colorado (Station No. 09135950). 

Stream flow has been monitored at the station near Somerset since October 1933. The 
drainage area at the Somerset station is 526 square miles. The highest annual mean flow at 
this station during the period of record for water years 1934 through 1997 was 829 cfs in 1984. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-60 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

The highest instantaneous peak flow of 9,220 cfs was recorded on May 24, 1984. The lowest 
annual mean flow for the same station and period of record was 1 14 cfs in 1977. 

The station below Leroux Creek is a new station with data collected for a three month period 
during the summer of 1997. Flow during the period from July to September ranged from a 
minimum daily mean of 94 cfs to a maximum daily mean of 848 cfs. (USGS, 1997) 

Surface water quality in the North Fork of the Gunnison River in the vicinity of Paonia is good 
with low concentrations of TDS, nitrate, nitrite, and metals. The water is of calcium bicarbonate 
type. 

3.5.2.2 Project Area Surface Water Hydrology 

The coal lease tracts and exploration license area are tributary to the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River between Somerset and Paonia, Colorado. Figure 16, Regional Hydrology Map, 
shows the watershed areas that encompass the coal lease tract and exploration areas. Figure 
17, Regional Stream Network, illustrates the relative location of the tributary streams to the 
North Fork of the Gunnison River. Hubbard Creek and Terror Creek drain the Iron Point 
Exploration license area and the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. Hubbard Creek, Bear Creek, and 
a small portion of Elk Creek drain the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 

Watershed (drainage basin) information used to characterize the streams draining the project 
area includes: drainage area, elevation range, stream length, and stream order. Drainage area 
is the area of the watershed from its headwaters to its confluence with the next lower stream. 
Elevation range is determined from the highest point in the watershed to the elevation at the 
confluence with the next lower stream. Channel length is the total length of the stream from its 
origin at the headwaters to its confluence with the next lower stream. Stream order is a 
classification of a watershed using the number of tributaries found within the watershed. A first 
order stream has no tributaries. A second order stream is a reach downstream of the 
confluence of at least two first order streams. Ordering continues in this fashion indicating the 
relative complexity of the watershed. 

Iron Point Exploration License Area and Coal Lease Tract - Hubbard Creek is a fourth 
order perennial drainage that has an estimated drainage basin area of 58.1 square miles. 
Elevation ranges from 1 1 ,327 feet on Electric Mountain to 5,870 feet at the confluence with the 
North Fork of the Gunnison River. The main channel length is 17.60 miles long. Approximately 
20 percent of the Hubbard Creek drainage basin lies within the coal lease tract and the 
exploration license areas. An area of 1 .3 square miles is located within the Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tract. A 3.3 square mile area is located within the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and a 7.0 
square mile area is located within the Iron Point Exploration License area. 

Terror Creek is a third order perennial drainage with a drainage basin area of 29.4 square 
miles. Elevation ranges from 1 1 ,200 feet north of Rex Reservoir to 5,740 feet at the confluence 
with the North Fork of the Gunnison River. The main channel length is 12.35 miles long. 
Thirteen percent of the Terror Creek drainage basin lies within the coal lease tract and 
exploration license area. An area of 1.8 square miles is located within the Iron Point Coal 
Lease Tract. A 1 .9 square mile area is located within the Iron Point Exploration License area. 

Baseline water quality and flow data for the Bowie No. 1 and No. 2 mines have been collected 
for several years. Bowie has initiated additional baseline monitoring in the Iron Point Coal 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 p age 3-61 

Lease Tract and iron Point Exploration License area, north of the existing mines. Table 3.5-1, 
Surface Water Monitoring Summary, describes the period of record for the surface water 
monitoring network. 

There are twelve surface water monitoring locations on Hubbard Creek and its tributaries. 
Instantaneous flow data and water quality data are monitored at each location. Surface water 
monitoring locations are shown on Figure 16, Regional Hydrology Map. Surface water flow is 
discussed in this section, while water quality is addressed in Section 3.5.2.3, Project Area 
Surface Water Quality. 

Iron Point Gulch (D34-12), Dove Gulch (D33-13, D34-13, D34-15), and Sheep Corral Gulch 
(D2-1, D33-14) have flow monitoring data available from October 1997 through April 1999 (data 
available at the time of this Draft EIS). Instantaneous flow is recorded at most of these stations 
in the spring and early summer, and they are dry in the fall and winter months. Lower Dove 
Gulch (D34-15) is perennial with flows ranging from 0.5 cfs in June 1998 to 0.03 cfs in 
September and November 1998. 

Flow in Upper Hubbard Creek (Hub-up), located at the mine entrance of the Blue Ribbon Mine 
ranges from 3.5 cfs (September 1996) to 86.5 cfs (June 1997). The period of record for this 
station is September 1996 to December 1998. 

Flow in Lower Hubbard Creek (Hub-low), located at the confluence of Hubbard Creek with the 
North Fork of the Gunnison River ranges from 2.9 cfs (September 1998) to 85.5 cfs (June 
1997). The period of record for Lower Hubbard is also September 1996 to December 1998. 
The Upper Deertrail Ditch monitoring location (Deer-up) diverts water from Hubbard Creek 
between the upper and lower stations. Flow and quality are monitored at the headgate of 
Deertrail Ditch (Deer-up). Flow in the Deertrail Ditch ranges from 0.61 cfs (March 1997) to 4.81 
cfs (December 1 998). Period of record for this ditch is May 1 996 to December 1 998. 

Upper Freeman Gulch (Free-up) was dry, or had no measurable flow for the period June 1996 
to December 1998. Surface water was measured in Lower Freeman Gulch (Free-low) twice 
during the June 1995 through December 1998 period of record. Flow on June 17, 1997 was 
1 .88 cfs and on June 18, 1998 flow was 3.75 cfs. 

Lower Deertrail Ditch (Deer-low) is monitored at the downstream end of the Deertrail Ditch 
where it discharges into the Fire Mountain Canal. The period of record for this station is from 
May 1996 to December 1998. Flow ranges from cfs in June 1998 and September 1998 to 
0.16 cfs on November 19, 1997. 

Six monitoring stations measure ephemeral streams that are directly tributary to the North Fork 
of the Gunnison River. Upper and Lower Stephens Draw, A Gulch, B Gulch, C Gulch and D 
Gulch are located within the permit boundary of the Bowie No. 2 Mine. These stations were 
monitored from February 1995 through December 1998. These streams are dry for much of 
the year. Flow events were captured only in the Lower B and C gulches. These flow 
measurements are less than 0.01 cfs, and there is no seasonal pattern. 

There are four monitoring stations along the Terror Creek drainage. Cottonwood Stomp (D32- 
5) is located approximately 1 mile downstream of the Terror Creek Reservoir. Monitoring 
began at this station in June 1998. Four instantaneous flow measurements were taken 
between June and November 1998. Flow was less than 1 cfs in June and July and dry in 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-62 


Environmental Analys 


is 


September 1999 




















Table 3.5-1 
Surface Water Monitoring Summary 




Owner/Mine 


Drainage 


Site 
Designation 


Monitoring 
Period(s) 


Comments 


Oxbow/Sanborn 


North Fork of Gunnison 


NF-1 


3/91-12/94 




Oxbow/Sanborn 


North Fork of Gunnison 


NF-1 


3/91-12/94 




Oxbow/Sanborn 


North Fork of Gunnison 


NF-3 


3/91-12/94 




Oxbow/Sanborn 


North Fork of Gunnison 


E-1 


3/80-4/82 


Field parameters & flow data 


Oxbow/Sanborn 


North Fork of Gunnison 


E-2 


3/80-4/82 


Field parameters & flow data 


Oxbow/Sanborn 


North Fork of Gunnison 


B-1 


3/80-4/82 


Field parameters & flow data 


Oxbow/Sanborn 


North Fork of Gunnison 


B-2 


3/80-4/82 


Field parameters & flow data 


Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Drainage System 


A-Gulch-IO 


2/95-19/98 


Field parameters & flow data 


Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Drainage System 


B-Gulch-lo 


2/95-19/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Drainage System 


B-Gulch-up 


2/95-19/98 


Field parameters & flow data 


Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Drainage System 


C-Gulch-lo 


2/95-19/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Drainage System 


C-Gulch-up 


2/95-19/98 


Field parameters & flow data 


Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Drainage System 


D-Gulch-lo 


2/95-1 9/98 


Field parameters & flow data 


Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Drainage System 


D-Gulch-up 


2/95-19/98 


Field parameters & flow data 


Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Sheep Corral Drainage System 


D2-1 


10/97-4/99 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Terror Creek - Drainage System 


D32-4 


10/97-11/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Terror Creek - Drainage System 


D32-5 


6/98-11/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Upper Dove Guich 


D33-13 


11/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Upper Sheep Corral Gulch 


D33-14 


11/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Iron Point - Drainage System 


D34-12 


10/97-4/99 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Dove Gulch - Drainage System 


D34-13 


10/97-4/99 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Hubbard Creek - Drainage 
System 


D34-14 


10/97-4/99 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Dove Gulch - Drainage System 


D34-15 


6/98-11/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Canal - Deertrail Ditch 


Deer-lo 


5/96-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Canal - Deertrail Ditch 


Deer-up 


5/96-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Freeman Gulch - Drainage 
System 


Free-low 


6/95-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Freeman Gulch - Drainage 
System 


Free-up 


6/95-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Hubbard Creek - Drainage 
System 


Hub-low 


6/96-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Hubbard Creek - Drainage 
System 


Hub-up 


9/96-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


North Fork - Drainage System 


NFG-low 


9/96-12/98 






















North Fork Coal ♦ Draft 


Environment* 


il Impact Sta\ 


^ement 





September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-63 



Table 3.5-1 
Surface Water Monitoring Summary 


Owner/Mine 


Drainage 


Site 
Designation 


Monitoring 
Period(s) 


Comments 


Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


North Fork - Drainage System 


NFG-up 


9/96-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Stephens Draw - Drainage 
System 


Steph-low 


9/96-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Stephens Draw - Drainage 
System 


Steph-up 


7/95-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Canal - Terror Creek 


TC-low 


9/96-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Terror Creek - Drainage System 


TC-up 


9/98-12/98 




Bowie/Bowie No. 2 


Terror Creek - Drainage System 


TC-west 


4/97-12/98 





September and November. Upper Terror Creek (TC-up) is located on Terror Creek 
immediately upstream of the confluence with West Terror Creek. It has a period of record from 
September 1 996 and December 1 998. Flow ranges from cfs in September 1 996 to 44 cfs on 
April 27,1997. West Terror Creek (TC-west) is located on West Terror Creek immediately 
above the confluence with Terror Creek. The period of record for West Terror Creek is April 
1 997 through December 1 998. Flow ranges from 0.8 cfs on August 24, 1 997 to 1 98 cfs on April 
27, 1 997. Lower Terror Creek (TC-low) is located on Terror Ditch below the headgate. The 
period of record is from September 1996 through December 1998. Flow ranges from 0.1 cfs in 
April 1998 to 7.9 cfs on June 17, 1998. 

Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - Elk Creek is a third order intermittent drainage that is very 
narrow and steep-sided. The drainage basin area is 5.6 square miles. Elevation ranges from 
9,780 feet near Buck Mesa to 6,000 feet at the confluence with the North Fork of the Gunnison 
River. The channel length is 5.64 miles. Eleven percent of the Elk Creek drainage basin lies 
within the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. The channel of Elk Creek is primarily located east of the 
coal lease tract. 

Bear Creek is also a third order intermittent drainage and the drainage basin area is 8.7 square 
miles. Elevation ranges from 9,735 feet near Buck Mesa to 5,930 feet at the confluence with 
the North Fork of the Gunnison River. The channel length is 7.73 miles. Forty-seven percent 
of the Elk Creek drainage basin lies within the Elk Creek Lease Tract. A small portion (0.02 
square miles) lies within the Iron Point Exploration License area. 

Oxbow has collected limited surface water data within the current mine permit area for the 
Sanborn Creek Mine. Figure 16, Regional Hydrology Map , shows the locations of these 
monitoring points. Monitoring in Elk Creek and Bear Creek was collected by Oxbow in the early 
1980s. Table 3.5-1, Surface Water Monitoring Summary, describes the period of record for the 
surface water monitoring network. 

There are two surface water monitoring locations on Elk Creek. Station E-1 , Lower Elk Creek, 
is located at the confluence of Elk Creek with the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Station E- 
2, Upper Elk Creek, is located southeast of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract boundary on Elk 
Creek. The period of record available for stations E-1 and E-2 is from April 1980 to April 1982. 
Frequency of monitoring for E-1 and E-2 was twice a month for the summer of 1980, then 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-64 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

monthly (some exceptions in the winter months) through April 1982. Surface water flow for 
Station E-1 ranges from cfs in March, 1980, and June through August 1981 to 28.9 cfs on 
May 21 , 1 980. Surface water flow for Station E-2 ranges from 0.01 cfs in August 1 981 to 28.9 
cfs on May 21, 1980. 

There are two surface water monitoring locations on Bear Creek. Station B-1 , Lower Bear 
Creek, is located at the confluence of Bear Creek with the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 
Station B-2, Upper Bear Creek is located at a boundary of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract as it 
crosses Bear Creek. The period of record available for stations B-1 and B-2 is from March 
1980 to April 1982. Like the Elk Creek stations the frequency of monitoring for B-1 and B-2 was 
also twice a month for the summer of 1 980, then monthly until the spring of 1 982. Flow 
measurements for Station B-1 range from 0.1 1 cfs in August 1980 to 61 .13 cfs on May 21 , 
1 980. Flow measurements at Station B-2 range from cfs in August and September 1980, to 
51 .35 cfs on May 21 , 1 980. 

3.5.2.3 Project Area Surface Water Quality 

Baseline water quality data has been collected on streams within the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract since the mid-1 990's. Baseline data collection further upstream into the exploration 
license area began in 1997. The frequency of monitoring is quarterly, and there is no 
monitoring in the winter months due to limited access. Figure 16, Regional Hydrology Map , 
shows the location of surface water monitoring stations; and Table 3.5-2, Selected Surface 
Water Quality Summary, describes summary statistics for water chemistry collected. 

Oxbow has collected water quality data from areas within their current operations. However, 
Elk Creek and Bear Creek, which are located adjacent to and within the Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tract, have limited water quality data available. 

Perennial streams in the area, including the North Fork of the Gunnison River, Hubbard Creek, 
and Terror Creek have been assigned stream classifications by the Water Quality Control 
Commission, that define standards for water quality. These streams are classified as Class 1 
Aquatic Life Cold, Class 1 Recreation (waters where human ingestion of small quantities is 
likely to occur), Water Supply and Agriculture (CDPHE, 1999). 

The following discussion addresses average water quality data and parameters regulated by 
the Colorado Department of Public Health and environment standards. Several of the 
parameters listed in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment standards for 
the North Fork of the Gunnison River are consistently reported at, or below detection limits at 
most stations collected by Bowie. These parameters are arsenic, cadmium, copper, mercury, 
molybdenum, and selenium. Concentrations of zinc and lead are reported at, or near detection 
limits; however, these detection limits are higher than the chronic and acute standards for zinc 
and lead. Only total iron and total manganese were analyzed at the Oxbow stations on Elk 
Creek and Bear Creek. 

Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration License Area - The surface water quality in 
streams that drain the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration License area is relatively 
consistent, with only a few exceptions. Generally, streams in Hubbard and Terror creeks, and 
the North Fork of the Gunnison River are calcium bicarbonate type water. Four stations; Iron 
Point Gulch (D34-12), Dove Gulch (D34-15), Lower Freeman Gulch (Free-low), and Lower 
Stephens Gulch (Steph-low) are calcium/sodium bicarbonate type with high concentrations of 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 























North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 


Table 3.5-2 
Selected Surface Water Quality Summary 








Temperature 


Field pH 


Bicarbonate 


Nitrate 


Nitrite 


TDS 


TSS 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 


IronT 


Lead 


ManganeseT 


Selenium 


Zinc'' 


iff 

3 

CD 


Water Quality I 


' ::.■'■ 






SiSiiB 


iSlll 


|| 300 




m 2so 


< <IMP 




Varies 


. .MdWS 


0.020 


isffilSii 


































Hubbard C. above 
Iron Pt. (D34-14) 






























CO 

CO 


Number of Samples 


6 


6 


5 


1 


1 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 




Minimum 


3.2 


7.1 


74 


0.06 


-0.01 


100 


-5 


-10 


0.05 


0.15 


-0.04 


0.008 


-0.001 


-0.010 




Maximum 


19.3 


8.3 


124 


0.06 


-0.01 


160 


8 


20 


1.18 


0.96 


-0.04 


0.017 


-0.001 


0.020 




Average 


10.0 


7.8 


97 


0.06 


-0.01 


136 


5 


9 


0.32 


0.37 


-0.04 


0.013 


0.001 


0.008 




Standard Deviation 


6.6 


0.5 


21 


0.00 


0.00 


23 


3 


7 


0.48 


0.34 


0.00 


0.004 


0.000 


0.007 




Hubbard C. below 
Blue Rib. (Hub-up) 
































Number of Samples 


9 


9 


6 


5 


5 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 




Minimum 


0.5 


8.1 


57 


-0.02 


-0.01 


100 


-5 


-10 


0.07 


0.11 


-0.02 


0.005 


-0.001 


-0.010 




Maximum 


17.1 


9.0 


137 


0.06 


-0.01 


180 


38 


10 


2.25 


1.65 


-0.04 


0.035 


-0.040 


0.040 




Average 


7.9 


8.5 


106 


0.03 


-0.01 


140 


12 


8 


0.69 


0.84 


-0.02 


0.017 


-0.004 


0.018 


O 


Standard Deviation 


5.9 


0.3 


32 


0.02 


0.00 


32 


13 


3 


0.89 


0.62 


0.01 


0.011 


0.008 


0.014 


3" 


Hubbard C. at 
Confluence (Hub-low) 






























ra 
<*> 


Number of Samples 


10 


10 


6 


5 


5 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


Minimum 


2.3 


8.1 


62 


-0.02 


-0.01 


100 


-5 


-10 


0.05 


0.09 


-0.02 


0.009 


-0.001 


-0.010 




Maximum 


20.0 


9.3 


155 


0.29 


0.01 


260 


34 


50 


1.91 


1.44 


-0.08 


0.034 


-0.020 


0.040 




Average 


10.1 


8.6 


115 


0.07 


0.006 


165 


13 


20 


0.64 


0.59 


-0.02 


0.017 


-0.005 


0.016 




Standard Deviation 


6.7 


0.4 


35 


0.12 


0.002 


55 


12 


18 


0.81 


0.53 


0.01 


0.009 


0.008 


0.014 




Upper Deertrall Ditch 
(Deer-up) 
































Number of Samples 


12 


12 


8 


7 


7 


8 


8 


8 


8 


8 


8 


8 


8 


8 




Minimum 


2.0 


8.0 


51 


-0.02 


-0.01 


50 


-5 


-10 


0.08 


0.13 


-0.02 


0.008 


-0.001 


-0.010 




Maximum 


19.6 


9.1 


139 


0.08 


0.02 


200 


52 


20 


2.03 


1.85 


0.05 


0.033 


-0.040 


0.030 




Average 


10.2 


8.6 


95 


0.03 


0.008 


126 


18 


10 


0.90 


0.85 


0.02 


0.022 


-0.003 


0.016 




Standard Deviation 


6.8 


0.4 


38 


0.03 


0.006 


46 


19 


6 


0.83 


0.65 


0.01 


0.009 


0.007 


0.009 




Lower NF Gunnison 
(NFG-low) 
































Number of Samples 


10 


10 


6 


5 


5 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


<Q 

Co 

i 


Minimum 


1.6 


8.1 


61 


-0.02 


-0.01 


80 


-5 


-10 


0.10 


0.11 


-0.02 


0.014 


-0.001 


-0.010 


Maximum 


17.8 


8.7 


123 


0.16 


0.01 


150 


52 


20 


1.29 


1.48 


0.05 


0.031 


-0.040 


0.030 


Average 


10.2 


8.4 


92 


0.05 


0.006 


120 


14 


14 


0.51 


0.49 


0.02 


0.020 


-0.004 


0.017 


















Ul 































o 

I 
J 

S- 

o 

© 



3 

S 1 
s 

3 

a 
sr 

2 
m 

3 



Table 3.5-2 
Selected Surface Water Quality Summary 




Temperature 


Field pH 


Bicarbonate 


Nitrate 


Nitrite 


TDS 


rss 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 


IronT 


Lead 


ManganeseT 


Selenium 


Zinc' 


Water Quality Std. (mg/l) 

Standard Deviation 


5.9 


: : :' 

0.2 




aims 


HHtyB 


mw 






0.20 


. .too 


Vjrlsa 


0.050 


0.020 


Varies 


26 


0.06 


0.002 


32 


19 


7 


0.53 


0.52 


0.01 


0.006 


0.008 


0.010 


Terror C. below Confl 
W. Terror (TC-up) 






























Number of Samples 


10 


10 


6 


5 


5 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


6 


Minimum 


0.6 


8.1 


66 


-0.02 


-0.01 


100 


-5 


-10 


0.20 


0.26 


-0.02 


0.018 


-0.001 


-0.010 


Maximum 


19.2 


8.6 


103 


0.04 


0.01 


150 


52 


20 


3.70 


2.61 


-0.04 


0.140 


-0.040 


0.040 


Average 


8.6 


8.4 


86 


0.02 


0.006 


122 


16 


8 


1.10 


0.92 


-0.02 


0.047 


-0.004 


0.017 


Standard Deviation 


6.7 


0.1 


16 


0.01 


0.002 


17 


20 


6 


1.33 


0.89 


0.01 


0.046 


0.008 


0.013 


North Fork of Gunnison 
(NF-1) 






























Number of Samples 


9 


? 


9 






9 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


9 


? 


9 


Minimum 


0.0 


7.2 


35 






4 


1 


5 


0.01 


0.03 


0.00 


0.000 


0.001 


0.000 


Maximum 


24.0 


9.5 


140 






208 


250 


21 


5.63 


6.26 


0.06 


0.183 


0.038 


0.090 


Average 


9.6 


8.5 


84 






102 


36 


11 


1.12 


0.84 


0.02 


0.040 


0.004 


0.012 


Standard Deviation 


? 


? 


9 






? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


North Fork of Gunnison 

(NF-2) 






























Number of Samples 


? 


? 


9 






? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


Minimum 


0.0 


6.9 


22 






30 


1 


4 


0.01 


0.03 


0.00 


0.005 


0.001 


0.003 


Maximum 


24.0 


9.5 


200 






396 


170 


21 


4.12 


5.71 


1.00 


0.140 


0.014 


0.092 


Average 


9.5 


8.5 


93 






132 


29 


11 


0.69 


0.68 


0.04 


0.030 


0.004 


0.012 


Standard Deviation 


? 


? 


? 






? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


9 


North Fork of Gunnison 

(NF-3) 






























Number of Samples 


9 


? 


? 






? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


Minimum 


2.0 


7.2 


490 






46 


6 


4 


0.010 


0.050 


0.0025 


0.013 


0.0005 


0.0025 


Maximum 


23.0 


8.6 


150 






172 


50 


25 


0.46 


0.45 


0.03 


0.109 


0.007 


0.025 


Average 


12.3 


8.0 


100 






116 


16.8 


11.6 


0.187 


0.259 


0.021 


0.034 


0.004 


0.006 


Standard Deviation 


9 


? 


9 






? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


? 


9 


? 
































Reference for Standards 

EPA. Primary Drinking Water Standards, Colorado Department of Health, North Fork Gunnison River 



to 

(O 

<o 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-67 

TDS. Metals concentrations at these four stations were below detection limits, or within the 
state standards for total iron, manganese and selenium with one exception. The Dove Gulch 
station had a concentration of total iron that slightly exceeded the standard in July 1998. 

Water quality data at Lower B and C gulches are calcium/sodium sulfate water types. Water 
quality at these stations is poor with high concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDS), nitrate, 
nitrite and sulfate. They also have concentrations of total iron, manganese, selenium and zinc 
that exceed the state standards. These concentrations are believed to reflect impacts from 
past mining activity, in particular, the historic waste coal fines and mine portals that are located 
in the B and C gulches below the Bowie No. 2 Mine. 

Water quality data collected from stations on the North Fork of the Gunnison River indicate 
calcium bicarbonate water type. Stations monitoring water quality on the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River collect data from points upstream and downstream from mining activity at both 
the Bowie and Oxbow Mines. 

The monitoring stations on the North Fork of the Gunnison River monitored by Bowie are 
designated NFG-up, Upper North Fork of the Gunnison River, and NFG-low, Lower North Fork 
of the Gunnison River. NFG-up is located immediately upstream of the confluence of Hubbard 
Creek with the North Fork of the Gunnison River and NFG-low is located approximately 1,500 
feet downstream of the confluence of Terror Creek with the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 

The monitoring stations on the North Fork of the Gunnison monitored by Oxbow are designated 
NF-1 , located upstream of the Sanborn Creek Mine facilities area, and NF-2, located at the 
Sanborn Creek Mine facilities area. There is a station on the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
located downstream; however, the period of record is much shorter than NF-1 and NF-2. 
Water quality is good with low concentrations of TDS, nitrate, nitrite and metals. There have 
been occasional exceedances of total iron and manganese; however, the average 
concentrations are below the state standard for both of these parameters. 

Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - Baseline water quality for Elk and Bear creeks is limited to TDS, 
TSS, alkalinity, total and dissolved iron, and total manganese for a period of record from May 
1980 to April 1982. Concentrations of TDS and total suspended solids (TSS) are very high 
(averaging 2,300 mg/l and 75 mg/l, respectively) in Lower Bear Creek (B-1) at the confluence 
with the North Fork of the Gunnison River. During the early 1980s, several landslides may 
have impacted the water quality of Lower Bear Creek by increasing the sediment load of 
overland flow to Bear Creek (R. Dunrud, 1999, personal communication). Upper Bear Creek 
(B-2) had concentrations of TDS and TSS averaging 247 mg/l and 31 .35 mg/l, respectively. 

A portion of Elk Creek was diverted through a section of culvert in the early 1980s. The effects 
of this construction are seen in the concentrations of TDS and TSS during this time. 
Concentrations of TDS is high in both stations on Elk Creek (averaging 439 mg/l at E-2 and 434 
mg/l at E-1). Average concentrations of total iron and total manganese also exceed the state 
standards during this period of record. 

3.5.2.4 Seasonal Trends in Surface Water Quality 

General seasonal trends in surface water quality were not obvious in reviewing the Bowie or 
Oxbow water quality data. The relatively short period of record likely explains the lack of 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-68 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

significant trends. The water quality data for Oxbow reflects an earlier period of record that is 
also relatively short. 

3.5.2.5 Water Users/Water Rights 

The study area is located within the Colorado Division of Water Resources Division 4, District 
40. Water rights for this district were obtained from this agency, and these are shown on Figure 
18, Water Rights. Table 3.5.3, Water Rights Summary for Wells, Springs, and Surface Water, 
gives additional information about water rights located on Figure 18, Water Rights. The map 
and table include all water rights in an area bounded by a 1 mile buffer around the Iron Point 
Exploration License area, and the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. Water rights 
originating from the North Fork of the Gunnison River between the Sanborn Creek surface 
facilities area and the Bowie No. 2 Mine surface facilities are also included, even though they 
may be located more than 1 mile from the lease area boundaries. Water rights originating from 
Hubbard Creek or west of Hubbard Creek are considered in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 
and the Iron Point exploration license area and those east of Hubbard Creek are considered in 
the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract area. 

Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration License Area - There are nine ditches 
originating from Hubbard Creek and its tributaries that are located within the boundaries 
described above. Four of these ditch headgates, the Wade Allen Ditch, the Carl Galphin Ditch, 
the Pilot Knob Ditch, and the Carter Ditch, are located north of the exploration license area, but 
within 1 mile of the boundary. The Wade Allen Ditch headgate is located on Hubbard Creek. 
The Carl Galpin Ditch headgate is located on Pilot Creek, tributary to Hubbard Creek. The Pilot 
Knob Ditch headgate is located just south of the Galpin Ditch headgate. The Carter Ditch 
headgate is located on Cottonwood Creek. 

The Hubbard Creek Ditch headgate is located at the northern boundary of the exploration 
license area boundary on Hubbard Creek. The Blue Ribbon Ditch headgate is located on 
private land and is adjacent to the historic Blue Ribbon Mine on Hubbard Creek. 

The Deertrail Ditch headgate is located on Hubbard Creek south and between the Elk Creek 
and Iron Point Coal Lease Tracts. The Majnik and Mayes Ditches are located south of the 
Deertrail Ditch. 

There are two reservoirs within the Hubbard Creek drainage basin. The Terror Creek Reservoir 
(known as the Bruce Park Reservoir in the water rights listing), is located in the northwestern 
corner of the exploration license area. The reservoir straddles the Hubbard and Terror creek 
drainage basins with a dam in each basin. The water source is Hubbard Creek; however, water 
from the reservoir can be released to either Hubbard or Terror creeks. The Blue Ribbon 
Reservoir No. 1 feeds the Blue Ribbon Ditch mentioned above. See Figure 18, Water Rights. 

There are seven ditches, or canals originating in the Terror Creek drainage basin. One canal, 
the Grand Mesa Canal No. 3, has a headgate located on the East Fork Terror Creek. It is 
located in the northwestern corner of the exploration license area, northwest of the Terror 
Creek Reservoir. The Garvin Mesa Pipeline and the Hughes Pipieline are located immediately 
west of the exploration license area on an unnamed tributary to East Fork Terror Creek. 

The remaining four ditches have headgate locations south of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract on 
Terror Creek. The Terror Ditch headgate is located approximately 0.6 miles south of the 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



56 
O 

I 
© 

o 

o 

6) 



2 
a 

S 1 

s. 
3 

3 

3 
I 

r> 

*■* 

(/> 

sr 



3 

(D 

a 



Table 3.5-3 
Water Rights Summary for Wells, Springs, and Surface Water 


WATER RIGHT NAME 


Map 

it 


TS 


RNG 


SEC 


Q160 


Q40 


Q10 


ADJ DATE 


APRODATE 


USE TYPE * 


RATEABS 


VOL ABS 


RATE COND 


VOL COND 


BLUE RIBBON DITCH NO 1 


2 


13S 


91 W 


2 


NW 


NW 


NE 


12/31/77 


1/24/77 


DOMIND 


2 








BLUE RIBBON RES NO 1 


2 


13S 


91 W 


2 


NW 


NW 


SE 


12/31/77 


1/24/77 


DOMIND 





10.2 






BLUE RIBBON WELL 


2 


13S 


91 W 


2 


NW 


NW 


NE 


12/31/77 


1/24/77 


DOMIND 


0.033 








J&MSPRING&PLN0 2 


3 


13S 


91 W 


3 


NW 


SW 


SW 


12/31/70 


7/1/34 


DOMSTK 


0.004 








J & M SPRING & PL NO 1 


4 


13S 


91 W 


4 


NE 


NE 


SW 


12/31/70 


7/1/34 


DOMSTK 


0.009 








DEERTRAIL DITCH 


11 


13S 


91 W 


11 


NE 


SW 


NW 


4/12/01 


1890-11-01 


IRR 


1.25 








DEERTRAIL DITCH 


11 


13S 


91 W 


11 


NE 


SW 


NW 


4/12/01 


1893-06-01 


IRR 


0.322 








DEERTRAIL DITCH 


11 


13S 


91 W 


11 


NE 


SW 


NW 


4/12/01 


1893-06-06 


IRR 


0.344 








DEERTRAIL DITCH 


11 


13S 


91 W 


11 


NE 


SW 


NW 


6/23/14 


1893-07-01 


IRR 


1.594 








DEERTRAIL DITCH 


11 


13S 


91 W 


11 


NE 


SW 


NW 


3/20/54 


1890-11-05 


DOM IRR 


1.044 








DEERTRAIL DITCH 


11 


13S 


91 W 


11 


NE 


SW 


NW 


3/20/54 


2/15/07 


INDIRR 


0.294 








MAJNIK DITCH 


14 


13S 


91 W 


14 


NE 


NW 


NE 


5/28/37 


4/1/01 


IRR 


1.5 








MAYES DITCH 


14 


13S 


91 W 


14 


NE 


NE 


NE 


6/23/14 


6/1/02 


IRR 


0.375 








TERROR CREEK 






























GRAND MESA CANAL HGT 3 


29 


12S 


91 W 


29 


SE 


NE 


SW 


1/31/64 


6/15/61 


IRR 






25 




GARVIN MESA PIPELINE CO 


32 


12S 


91 W 


32 


SW 


NE 


NW 


12/31/76 


9/25/76 


DOM 


0.04 








HUGHES PIPELINE 


32 


12S 


91 W 


32 


SW 


SW 


SE 


12/31/77 


1/7/77 


DOM 










J & M SPRING & PL NO 3 


4 


13S 


91 W 


4 


NW 


SW 


SE 


12/31/70 


7/1/34 


DOMSTK 


0.009 








J&MSPRING&PLN0 4 


4 


13S 


91 W 


4 


NE 


SW 


NW 


12/31/70 


7/1/34 


DOMSTK 


0.011 








J & M SPRING & PL NO 5 


4 


13S 


91 W 


4 


NW 


SE 


NW 


12/31/70 


7/1/34 


DOMSTK 


0.011 








BARROW SPRING PIPELINE 


5 


13S 


91 W 


5 


NW 


SW 


SW 


12/31/74 


6/1/24 


DOMRECSTK 


0.1 








LEONARD SPRING NO 1 


7 


13S 


91 W 


7 


NE 


SE 


NE 


12/31/74 


6/1/20 


DOMRECSTK 


0.05 








LEONARD SPRING NO 2 


7 


13S 


91 W 


7 


NE 


SE 


NE 


12/31/74 


6/1/20 


DOMRECSTK 


0.05 








TERROR DITCH 


17 


13S 


91 W 


17 


NE 


NE 


SE 


1889-06-17 


1883-11-13 


IRR 











TERROR DITCH 


17 


13S 


91 W 


17 


NE 


NE 


SE 


4/12/01 


1884-12-11 


IRR 


6 








TERROR DITCH 


17 


13S 


91 W 


17 


NE 


NE 


SE 


2/10/30 


5/1/01 


IRR 


6 








TERROR DITCH 


17 


13S 


91 W 


17 


NE 


NE 


SE 


3/20/54 


1884-12-11 


DOM 


1.5 








FAWCETT DITCH 


21 


13S 


91 W 


21 


SW 


NE 


SW 


1889-06-17 


1883-11-13 


IRR 


0.115 








FAWCETT DITCH 


21 


13S 


91 W 


21 


SW 


NE 


NW 


3/20/54 


4/15/44 


IRRDOM 


1.25 








HOLYBEE DITCH 


21 


13S 


91 W 


21 


NW 


SW 


SE 


1 889-06-1 7 


1883-11-13 


RR 


0.4 








FIRE MT CANAL 


21 


13S 


91 W 


21 


SW 


NW 


NE 


2/10/30 


7/1/03 


RR 


70 








PUPIK POND 


21 


13S 


91 W 


21 


SW 


NW 


NE 


12/31/80 


6/23/80 


DOMIRRSTK 





2 






CLOUDS WELL 


21 |13S 


91 W 


21 


SE 


SW 


NW 


12/31/75 


10/4/73 


DOM 0.003 








lype Key: IRR - Irrigation, DOM - Domestic, STK - Stock Watering, REC - Recreation, IND - Industrial, OTH - Other, COM - Commercial, WLD - Wildlife 



CO 

fD 

•o 

fir 

3 

(D 

-A 

o 
<o 
to 



O 

3- 

a> 

(D 
Co 



2- 

<1> 

Co 
■ 






in 

(D 



Table 3.5-3 
Water Rights Summary for Wells, Springs, and Surface Water 


WATER RIGHT NAME 


Map 
ft 


TS 


RNG 


SEC 


Q160 


Q40 


Q10 


ADJDATE 


APRO DATE 


USE TYPE * 


RATEABS 


VOL ABS 


RATE COND 


VOL COND 


N. FORK GUNNISON RIVER 






























FIRE MT CANAL 


















3/20/54 


6/1/35 


IRR 










FIRE MT CANAL 


23 


13S 


90 W 


8 


sw 


SW 


SW 


2/10/30 


6/24/14 


IRR 


7.5 








FIRE MT CANAL 


23 


13S 


90 W 


8 


sw 


sw 


SW 


3/20/54 


1896-09-14 


DOM 


30 








FIRE MT CANAL 


23 


13S 


90 W 


8 


sw 


sw 


SW 


3/20/54 


6/1/35 


IRROTH 


106 








SOMERSET MINE WELL 


24 


13S 


90 W 


8 


SE 


sw 




12/31/79 


6/8/78 


IND 


0.44 








BEAR WELL NO 1 


25 


13S 


90 W 


8 


SE 


SE 




12/31/93 


7/15/82 


COMDOM 


0.222 








FIRE MT CANAL 


23 


13S 


90 W 


17 


NW 


NW 


SW 


2/20/04 


1896-09-14 


IRR 


50 








FIRE MT CANAL 


23 


13S 


90 W 


17 


NW 


NW 


sw 


6/23/14 


6/1/09 


IRR 


44.5 








FIRE MT CANAL 


23 


13S 


90 W 


17 


NW 


NW 


sw 


2/10/30 


7/1/09 


IRR 











CARROL DITCH 


26 


13S 


90 W 


18 








2/20/04 


1888-02-28 


IRR 


0.625 








NEW MAJNIK HOUSE WELL 


27 


13S 


91 W 


14 


NE 


SE 


SE 


12/31/75 


6/5/72 


DOMSTK 


0.033 








SELL NO 1 WELL 


28 


13S 


91 W 


14 


NE 


SE 


SE 


12/31/72 


5/1/20 


DOMSTK 


0.033 








JENKINS DITCH NO 1 


29 


13S 


91 W 


15 


SW 


SW 


SE 


8/11/69 


6/1/24 


IRR 


0.25 








JENKINS DITCH NO 1 


29 


13S 


91 W 


15 


SW 


SW 


SE 


8/11/69 


6/1/64 


IRR 


0.5 








JENKINS DITCH NO 2 


30 


13S 


91 W 


15 


SW 


SE 


NW 


8/11/69 


6/1/24 


IRR 


0.25 








JENKINS DITCH NO 2 


30 


13S 


91 W 


15 


SW 


SE 


NW 


8/11/69 


6/1/64 


IRR 


0.5 








STEWART DITCH 


31 


13S 


91 W 


15 


SW 


SE 


SE 


12/31/94 


12/31/20 


STK 


5 








BRONISH N01 WELL 


32 


13 S 


91 W 


15 


SE 


NW 


SE 


12/31/72 


5/1/40 


DOM IRR 


0.067 








STEPHENS DITCH 


33 


13S 


91 W 


16 


SE 


SE 


SE 


3/20/54 


5/10/08 


DOM 


0.25 








STEWART DITCH 


33 


13S 


91 W 


21 


NW 






4/12/01 


1882-06-01 


IRR 


1.25 








STEWART DITCH 


33 


13S 


91 W 


21 


NW 






4/12/01 


1892-12-27 


IRR 


4.73 








STEWART DITCH 


33 


13S 


91 W 


21 


NW 






2/20/04 


1895-11-30 


IRR 


50.75 








STEWART DITCH 


33 


13S 


91 W 


21 


NW 






2/20/04 


4/1/01 


IRR 


1.06 








STEWART DITCH 


33 


13S 


91 W 


21 


NW 






2/10/30 


12/13/10 


IRR 


19.25 








TOLTEC SPRING 


34 


13S 


91 W 


21 


SE 


NW 


NW 


12/31/92 


7/7/82 


IRROTHSTKW 
LDDOM 


0.06 




0.03 




TRAIN LOADOUT WELL NO 1 


35 


13S 


91 W 


29 


SE 


NW 


NE 


12/31/80 


12/31/79 


DOMIND 


0.11 




0.002 




BEAR CREEK 






























BURTARD DITCH 


36 


12S 


90 W 


30 


NW 


SW 


NW 


3/20/54 


6/1/29 


IRR 


2.5 








HUBBARD CREEK 






























WADE ALLEN DITCH 


37 


12S 


91 W 


10 


SE 


NW 


NE 


5/28/37 


6/1/04 


IRR 


3.5 








WADE ALLEN DITCH 


37 


12S 


91 W 


10 


SE 


NW 


NE 


3/20/54 


6/5/48 


IRR 


3.5 








CARL GALPIN DITCH 


38 


12S 


91 W 


12 


SW 


SE 


NW 


1/31/64 


1/1/56 


IRR 


3 








PILOT KNOB DITCH 


39 


12S 


91 W 


12 


SW 


SW 


SE 


2/10/30 


6/13/11 


IRR 


1 








HUBBARD CREEK 


40 


12S 


91 W 


14 


SE 


NW 


NW 


12/31/84 


5/4/84 


MIN 


3 








CARTER DITCH 


24 


12S 


91 W 


24 


NE 


NW 


SE 


5/28/37 


10/1/22 


IRR 


2.12 








BRUCE PARK RESERVOIR 


28 


12S 


91 W 


28 


SW 


SE 


SE 


5/28/37 


9/13/13 


IRR 





550.5 






BRUCE PARK RESERVOIR 


28 


12S 


91 W 


28 


SW 


SE 


SE 


3/20/54 


5/9/50 


IRR 





81.5 







3 



September 1999 Chapter 3 p age 3 . 71 

southern-most boundary of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. The Fire Mountain Canal 
(additional headgate), Fawcett Ditch, and the Holybee Ditch have headgates located near the 
confluence of Terror Creek with the North Fork of the Gunnison River. These ditches are all 
located more than 1 mile south of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract area, but they were included 
because the water source could be impacted upstream by the proposed mining. 

Seven ditches originating in the North Fork of the Gunnison River were also included because 
of the potential that the water source could be impacted upstream by mining. They are the Fire 
Mountain Canal, the Carrol Ditch, the Jenkins Ditches No. 1 and 2, the Stewart Ditch, the 
Stephens Ditch, and an additional headgate for the Stewart Ditch. 

Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - There is one surface water right listed in the Bear Creek 
drainage basin. The Burtard Ditch headgate is located on Bear Creek, approximately 0.6 miles 
north of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. There are no surface water rights in the Elk Creek 
drainage. 

3.5.2.6 Influence of Past Mining on Surface Water 

Various National Pollution Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) permits granted to the 
current mine operators regulate impacts of current and historical mining on local streams. 
Monitoring on the North Fork of the Gunnison River shows little impact to the water quality from 
current or historical mining. Occasional increased concentrations of metals have been 
observed during periods of increased runoff during the spring. The high sulfate concentrations 
found in the B and C gulches also do not appear to impact the water quality of the North Fork of 
the Gunnison River. 

Subsidence impacts from past mining have been observed in several areas. Appendix K, 
Subsidence Evaluation, describes a subsidence area near Bear Creek undermined by room 
and pillar mining techniques. Overburden in this area is less than 500 feet thick. Although 
subsidence was observed in the form of cracks in the weathered bedrock and colluvium from 15 
to 100 feet above the stream channel, there were no cracks observed in saturated alluvium 
underlying the stream. There was also no evidence of loss of flow observed downstream in 
Bear Creek. The soils and alluvium in the near-surface zone typically behave as a yieldable 
type of material, that is, they have the ability to yield or stretch without rupturing or breaking. 

3.5.3 Environmental Consequences 

3.5.3.1 Summary 

Potential environmental consequences of leasing (and eventual mining of) the Iron Point and 
Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract and granting the Iron Point Exploration License include the 
following impacts: 

► Dewatering of the D coal seam could disrupt flow on some sections of Hubbard 
Creek, which are fed from the D seam; 

► Water discharge from the mines to surface streams could impact the quality of water 
in the receiving streams; 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-72 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

- Subsidence caused by longwall mining can potentially disrupt stream flow and ponds 
directly above the underground mine and within the angle of draw. Other mine 
subsidence impacts could include changes in drainage channel morphology resulting 
in changes in general surface gradients, which could lead to head cutting, pooling, 
soil erosion, and sedimentation; and, 

► Increased construction and use of surface facilities could increase sedimentation. 

Figure 14, Subsidence Potential Map, describes the subsidence impacts within potential zones 
ranging from "very low to low" potential for subsidence, to "high to very high" potential. Table 
3.5-4, Water Rights Impact Summary, specifically addresses the impact to stream monitoring 
locations, as well as specific water rights. 

3.5.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

The No-Action Alternative would preclude impacts from the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tracts and the Iron Point Exploration License area, as exploration activities and mine 
development would not occur. There would be no surface water impacts from the lease tracts 
and exploration license area. 

Existing impacts to surface water quality from current and past mining, as well as other current 
land uses would continue. Bowie would continue mining the D seam from their fee (private) 
reserves. Treatment of water discharged from the existing mines would continue to be 
regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment through NPDES 
permits. Water use from the existing operation of the Bowie No. 2 mine varies seasonally and 
would be met with a variety of water rights, including 0.5 cfs from the Deertrail Ditch. 

Oxbow would finish longwall mining in the Sanborn Creek Mine and develop and mine fee 
(private) reserves from the planned Elk Creek Mine. Dewatering operations in these mines 
would continue, and mine discharge would continue to be treated and released to the North 
Fork of the Gunnison River under provisions of an existing NPDES permit. 

3.5.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives. 

Direct Effects - For all alternatives, coal would be mined by longwall techniques. The direct 
effects of this mining on surface water resources is discussed in this subsection. 

Iron Point Exploration License Area and Coal Lease Tract - In considering Alternatives B, 
C, and D, the Iron Point Exploration License would be approved, and the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract would be offered for leasing. Access road and drilling pad construction that would be 
required by the exploration drilling program could cause minor impacts to surface water 
resources due to sedimentation. There would be no negative impact to the quantity of flow in 
area streams from the exploration activities. Provided that the exploration firm(s) would obtain 
water under existing rights, which is required by the Colorado Division of Water Resources, 
there would be no impacts to water users or water rights. Water usage for exploration would be 
relatively minor (5 to 6 acre-feet/year), and such usage would be only during drilling activities 
that would be conducted for two years under an exploration license. In addition, such drilling 
would be seasonal, conducted during the dry (late spring, summer, autumn) months of the year. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



2: 
o 

I 

O 
o 



3 

! 

a 
3 

(D 
3 

I 

6) 
O 

sr 

i 

(0 

a 



Table 3.5-4 
Water Rights Impact Summary 


Water Right Name 


Map# 


Location 


Overburden 
Thickness 




TS 


RNG 


SEC 


Q160 


Q40 


Q10 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


Bear Creek 


Burtard Ditch 


36 


12S 


90W 


30 


NW 


SW 


NW 


2400 


- 


- 


- 


Hubbard Creek 


Wade Allen Ditch 


37 


12S 


91W 


10 


SE 


NW 


NE 


2500+ 


- 


-- 


-- 


Wade Allen Ditch 


37 


12S 


91W 


10 


SE 


NW 


NE 


2500+ 


-- 


— 


-- 


Carl Galpin Ditch 


38 


12S 


91W 


12 


sw 


SE 


NW 


2500+ 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Pilot Knob Ditch 


39 


12S 


91W 


12 


sw 


SW 


SE 


2500+ 


-- 


-- 


- 


Hubbard Creek 


40 


12S 


91W 


14 


SE 


NW 


NW 


2500+ 


- 


- 


- 


Carter Ditch 


1 


12S 


91W 


24 


NE 


NW 


SE 


2475 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Bruce Park Reservoir 


2 


12S 


91W 


28 


SW 


SE 


SE 


2125 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Bruce Park Reservoir 


2 


12S 


91W 


28 


SW 


SE 


SE 


2125 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Blue Ribbon Ditch No. 1 


3 


13S 


91W 


2 


NW 


W 


NE 


50 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


Blue Ribbon Reservoir No. 1 


4 


13S 


91W 


2 


NW 


NW 


SE 


(1)- 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


Blue Ribbon Well 


5 


13S 


91W 


2 


NW 


NW 


NE 


50 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


J&M Spring & PL No. 2 


6 


13S 


91W 


3 


NW 


SW 


SW 


1175 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Moderate 


J&M Spring & PL No. 1 


7 


13S 


91W 


4 


NE 


NE 


SW 


1325 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Deertrail Dtich 


8 


13S 


91W 


11 


NE 


SW 


NW 


-- 


Very High 


Very High 


High 









5 

o 

I 
J 

a- 

o 
o 



S 1 

S. 

3 

5 

3 
a 
I 

I 

6) 
O 

•■* 

V) 

ST 

**> 
n> 

3 

fD 

a 



Table 3.5-4 
Water Rights Impact Summary 


Water Right Name 


Map# 


Location 


Overburden 
Thickness 




TS 


RNG 


SEC 


Q160 


Q40 


Q10 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


Hubbard Creek (continued) 


Deertrail Ditch 


8 


13S 


91W 




NE 


SW 


NW 


-- 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


Deertrail Ditch 


8 


13S 


91W 




NE 


SW 


NW 


- 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


Deertrail Ditch 


8 


13S 


91 W 




NE 


SW 


NW 


- 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


Deertrail Ditch 


8 


13S 


91W 




NE 


SW 


NW 


- 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


Deertrail Ditch 


8 


13S 


91W 




NE 


SW 


NW 


-- 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


Majnik Ditch 


9 


13S 


91W 


14 


NE 


NW 


NE 


-- 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


Mayes Ditch 


10 


13S 


91W 


14 


NE 


NE 


NE 


-- 


Very High 


Very High 


High 


Terror Creek 


Grand Mesa Canal HGT 3 


11 


12S 


91W 


29 


SE 


NE 


SW 


2125 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Garvin Mesa Pipeline Co. 


12 


12S 


91W 


32 


SW 


NE 


NW 


1425 


Low 


Low 


Low 


Hughes Pipeline 


13 


12S 


91W 


32 


SW 


SW 


SE 


1000 


Low 


Low 


Low 


J&M Spring & PL No. 3 


14 


13S 


91W 


4 


NW 


SW 


SE 


850 


High 


High 


High 


J&M Spring & PL No. 4 


15 


13S 


91W 


4 


NE 


SW 


NW 


1375 


Low 


Low 


Low 


J&M Spring & PL No. 5 


16 


13S 


91W 


4 


NW 


SE 


NW 


1025 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Moderate 


Barrow Spring Pipeline 


17 


13S 


91W 


5 


NW 


SW 


SW 


700 


Low 


High 


Low 


Leonard Spring No. 1 


18 


13S 


91W 


7 


NE 


SE 


NE 


1075 


-- 


-- 


-- 



3 

(0 



to 



5 

o 

I 
? 

o 

o 



8) 

s. 

3 

3 

CD 
3 

I 

6) 
O 
»-* 

(/> 

ST 
•»» 

CO 

3 

ro 
3 



Table 3.5-4 
Water Rights Impact Summary 


Water Right Name 


Map# 


Location 


Overburden 
Thickness 




TS 


RNG 


SEC 


Q160 


Q40 


Q10 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


Terror Creek (continued) 


Leonard Spring No. 2 


19 


13S 


91W 


7 


NE 


SE 


NE 


1075 


-- 


-- 


- 


Terror Ditch 


20 


13S 


91W 


17 


NE 


NE 


SE 


-- 


Very High 


Very High 


Low 


Terror Ditch 


20 


13S 


91W 


17 


NE 


NE 


SE 


-- 


Very High 


Very High 


Low 


Terror Ditch 


20 


13S 


91W 


17 


NE 


NE 


SE 


-- 


Very High 


Very High 


Low 


Terror Ditch 


20 


13S 


91W 


17 


NE 


NE 


SE 


-- 


Very High 


Very High 


Low 


Fawcett Ditch 


21 


13S 


91W 


21 


SW 


NE 


SW 


-- 


-- 


- 


-- 


Fawcett Ditch 


21 


13S 


91W 


21 


SW 


NE 


NW 


- 


- 


-- 


-- 


Holybee Ditch 


22 


13S 


91W 


21 


NW 


SW 


SE 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Fire Mountain Canal 


23 


13S 


91W 


21 


SW 


N 


NE 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Pupik Pond 


24 


13S 


91W 


21 


SW 


NW 


NE 


-- 


-- 


- 


-- 


Clouds Well 


25 


13S 


91W 


21 


SE 


SW 


NW 


-- 


-- 


"" 


-- 


North Fork of the Gunnison River 


Fire Mountain Canal 




















-- 


-- 


-- 


Fire Mountain Canal 


23 


13S 


90W 


8 


SW 


SW 


SW 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Fire Mountain Canal 


23 


13S 


90W 


8 


SW 


SW 


SW 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Fire Mountain Canal 


23 


13S 


90W 


8 


SW 


SW 


SW 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 



CO 






o 

I 

o 
o 

6) 



s 

s. 
3 

(ft 

a 

sr 

3 

6) 
O 

(/> 

s? 

rat. 

3 

3 



Table 3.5-4 
Water Rights Impact Summary 


Water Right Name 


Map* 


Location 


Overburden 
Thickness 




TS 


RNG 


SEC 


Q160 | Q40 


Q10 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


North Fork of the Gunnison River (continued) 


Somerset Mine Well 


24 


13S 


90W 


8 


SE 


SW 




-- 


-- 


- 


-- 


Bear Well No. 1 


25 


13S 


90W 


8 


SE 


SE 




-- 


-- 


- 


- 


Fire Mountain Canal 


23 


13S 


90W 


17 


NW 


NW 


SW 


-- 


- 


-- 


-- 


Fire Mountain Canal 


23 


13S 


90W 


17 


NW 


NW 


SW 


-- 


- 


-- 


-- 


Fire Mountain Canal 


23 


13S 


90W 


17 


NW 


NW 


SW 


- 


- 


-- 


- 


Carrol Ditch 


26 


13S 


90W 


18 


NW 






-- 


- 


-- 


-- 


New Majnik House Well 


27 


13S 


91W 


14 


NE 


SE 


SE 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Sell No. 1 Well 


28 


13S 


91W 


14 


NE 


SE 


SE 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Jenkins Ditch No. 1 


29 


13S 


91W 


15 


SW 


SW 


SE 


-- 


-- 


-- 


- 


Jenkins Ditch No. 1 


29 


13S 


91W 


15 


SW 


SW 


SE 


-- 


-- 


- 


-- 


Jenkins Ditch No. 2 


30 


13S 


91W 


15 


SW 


SE 


NW 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Jenkins Ditch No. 2 


30 


13S 


91W 


15 


SW 


SE 


NW 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


Steward Ditch 


31 


13S 


91W 


15 


SW 


SE 


SE 


-- 


-- 


- 


- 


Bronish No. 1 Well 


32 


13S 


91W 


15 


SE 


NW 


SE 


-- 


-- 


- 


- 


Stephens Ditch 


33 


13S 


91W 


16 


SE 


SE 


SE 


-- 


-- 


- 


- 


Stephens Ditch 


33 


13S 


91W 


21 


NW 






-- 


-- 


-- 


- 


Stephens Ditch 


33 


13S 


91W 


21 


NW 






-- 


-- 


-- 


- 


Stephens Ditch 


33 


13S 


91W 


21 


NW 






-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 



CO 



September 1999 Chapter 3 



Page 3-77 



The companies successful in leasing the Iron Point Tract would develop mine plans complying 
with applicable federal and state rules and regulations, including stipulations of the coal leases. 

Dewatering of the D coal seam could decrease flow in the vicinity of Hubbard Creek near, and 
upstream of the historic (now abandoned) Blue Ribbon Mine. Hubbard Creek in this area 
(T13S, R91 W, Section 34) receives contribution from groundwater originating in the D seam. 
Surface water flow loss would be temporary; during mining, the D seam would be dewatered to 
allow for efficient and safe operations. Following mining, dewatering activities would be 
terminated, and groundwater levels should return to their approximate pre-mining condition. 
See Section 3.6, Groundwater, for additional discussion. 

Water discharge from the mines to surface streams could impact the quality of water in the 
receiving streams. Mine effluent would be regulated, and any discharge to receiving streams 
would have to meet permitted effluent requirements. Concentrations of TDS, iron, manganese, 
and sulfate could be constituents likely to increase. 

Subsidence resulting from longwall mining can potentially disrupt stream flow and ponds directly 
above the underground mine and within the angle of draw. Any temporary stream flow loss 
could affect the amount of water available for surface water diversion to water users 
downstream. Water rights diverted from Hubbard Creek and Terror Creek could be impacted. 
A water replacement plan would be required to address negative impacts to water rights, as 
discussed in Section 3.5.4, Possible Mitigation and Monitoring. 

Within the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract, segments of Hubbard and Terror Creeks, as well as 
most of the Freeman Gulch channel, the lower segments of Sheep Corral Gulch, and Dove 
Gulch, flow through areas that have a "high to very high" subsidence potential. See Figure 14, 
Subsidence Potential Map. Impacts from subsidence to these drainages could include changes 
in drainage channel morphology resulting in changes to general surface gradients, which could 
cause cutting, pooling, soil erosion, and sedimentation. 

Terror Creek Reservoir lies within the "very low to low" potential category; therefore, no direct 
impacts are anticipated. The Iron Point Coal Lease Tract boundary and the projected angle of 
draw do not extend to Terror Creek Reservoir. See Figure 14, Subsidence Potential Map. 

Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - Bear Creek and Elk Creek which are intermittent drainages, do 
not receive contributions to surface water flow from the D seam, because the D seam dips'to 
the northeast, and the depth of overburden increases to between 1 ,500 and 2,500 feet under 
most of the Bear Creek and Elk Creek drainages. See Figure 14, Hydrogeologic Cross-Section 
A-A'. Dewatering of the D seam in Elk Creek Tract is not expected to decrease surface water 
flow. However, longwall mining in the Elk Creek Tract would likely require dewatering of the 
saturated D seam. Mine water would be stored in sumps. It would be discharged, or treated 
and discharged, to the North Fork of the Gunnison River. This would be a discharge of 
groundwater during mining operations; this discharge would not be tributary to the North Fork of 
the Gunnison River, since the groundwater gradient is to the northeast. Oxbow is presently 
dewatering the B seam as part of its ongoing operations at the Sanborn Creek Mine under 
provisions of an existing NPDES permit. A similar arrangement would be expected for the D 
seam mining in the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-78 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

A segment of Bear Creek lies within the "moderate to high" subsidence zone. The remainder of 
the Upper Bear Creek drainage lies within the "low to moderate" subsidence zone. See Figure 
14, Subsidence Potential Map. 

The Elk Creek stream channel falls outside of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract boundary; 
however, a portion of Elk Creek in T12S, R90W, Section 32, lies within the angle of draw for 
mining in a "very low to low" subsidence zone. See Figure 14, Subsidence Potential Map. 

Two small unnamed ephemeral drainages tributary to Hubbard Creek originate in the 
southwestern-most corner of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract and fall within the "high to very 
high" and "moderate to high" subsidence zones. 

There is a potential for mine subsidence to cause changes in channel morphology, including 
minor head cutting, pooling, channel adjustment, etc. Surface tension cracks also have the 
potential to develop within and surrounding the drainages. These changes could cause 
increased soil erosion and sedimentation. 

Given the intermittent and ephemeral nature of the drainages within the Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tract, as well as their existing steep gradients, the thickness of overburden, and the natural 
geologic instability of the area, subsidence would have minimal impact to these drainages. 

There is one surface water right located near the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. The Burtard 
Ditch is located north of the tract boundary and outside the angle of draw. Impacts to this water 
right are not expected. 

Indirect Effects - No indirect effects on surface water are expected as a result of exploration 
activities or of mining within the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 

If leased, subsequent mining within the Iron Point Tract could lead to indirect effects on the 
Terror Creek Reservoir. These include potential impacts to the structural integrity of the 
impoundment due to mining induced seismicity. Available information suggests that there is 
greater risk from seismic activity generated from collapse of historic room and pillar mines in the 
Somerset area, than from proposed longwall operations. It is expected that subsidence 
associated with longwall mining near the Terror Creek Reservoir would occur readily behind the 
active mine face (see Appendix K, Subsidence Evaluation). Further definition of potential 
indirect impacts could be made with additional monitoring and evaluation of impoundment 
construction and integrity, and local geologic conditions. 

3.5.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 

Under Alternative B, it is assumed that longwall mining would be conducted under the perennial 
portions of Hubbard Creek and Terror Creek in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. Subsidence 
associated with longwall mining produces different effects than subsidence caused by room and 
pillar mining. As such, several investigations regarding the impact of longwall subsidence to 
perennial drainages in western coalfields were consulted. 

One study in a Utah coalfield showed that subsidence fractures up to 7 feet wide formed in a 
stream channel where 300 to 500 feet of overburden was present (USGS, 1995). Water from 
the creek was intercepted and reportedly reached the mine level. Other effects included a 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page3-79 

change in the type of water present and a variation in the gain-loss characteristics of the 
drainage. 

A second study in Utah was performed on a creek where 600 feet of overburden was present. 
In this case, there were no discernible impacts to stream flow, although minor channel 
adjustments were observed. The lack of observed impacts were attributed to the presence of a 
thick, well-developed alluvial system that served to buffer the impacts (Mattson, L.L and J.A. 
Magers, 1995, and USDA-FS, 1999). 

At one Colorado mine, a drainage with perennial flow was subsided where about 1 ,100 feet of 
overburden was present. The drainage flowed across a portion of exposed sandstone bedrock 
in which a series of tension fractures formed. The fractures intercepted flow in the drainage for 
a short period. It was reported that the presence of a 600 foot thick shale unit between the 
mine level and the creek likely served to reduce the extent of impacts (R. Mills, 1999). 

Given that there is only about 500 feet of overburden underlying Hubbard Creek and Terror 
Creek (see Figure 13, D Seam Overburden Isopach), coupled with limited development of 
alluvial systems, there would be high potential that the stream channels and stream flow could 
be affected by subsidence and subsidence-induced fracturing from longwall mining directly 
beneath such stream channels. 

3.5.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 

Effects of Alternative C would be the same as Alternative B except that extending the western 
boundary of the Elk Creek Tract to the Iron Point Tract boundary would add an area that drains 
to Hubbard Creek, and is located in the "high to very high" and "moderate to high" subsidence 
zones. Dewatering the D seam in this area could further impact Hubbard Creek. Impacts to 
water quality in the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract would remain the same as Alternative B. 

3.5.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 

No subsidence would be allowed under Terror Creek or Hubbard Creek. Therefore, the effects 
of longwall mining as described in Alternatives B and C would not occur. 

Subsidence effects to smaller drainages, such as Dove Gulch, Sheep Corral Gulch and Iron 
Point Gulch, as described in Section 3.5.3.3, Effects Common to All Action Alternatives, would 
remain the same. All other impacts, including effects from dewatering, effects on water quality, 
and impacts to water rights, would remain the same as Alternative C. 

3.5.4 Cumulative Effects 

Activities contributing to cumulative effects can be separated into several categories: mining, 
construction development, agriculture, water use, recreation, and logging. These activities are 
described in Section 1 .9, Adjacent Activities. 

Current mining activity in the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley includes the Bowie No.1 
Coal Loadout, the Bowie No. 2 Mine, the Sanborn Creek Mine, the Terror Creek Coal Loadout, 
and the West Elk Coal Mine. The Bowie No. 1 Mine is permitted for mining, but is inactive. 
Cumulative effects to surface water from mining activities include minimal impacts to water 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-80 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

quality on the North Fork of the Gunnison River, localized impacts to area streams from 
sedimentation, and water use via adjudicated water rights. 

Construction development activity includes the upgrade of State Highway 133 and future 
housing development. Effects to surface water from these activities, and effects from railroad 
maintenance/improvements could also temporarily contribute to sedimentation in the North Fork 
of the Gunnison River. 

Agriculture is an important and significant activity in the North Fork of the Gunnison valley. 
Cumulative effects to surface water quality would be minimal in the North Fork of the Gunnison 
River valley. Under state law, the mine operator/lessee would be required to replace any water 
right injured as a result of mining activities. In addition, a Forest Service stipulation (which 
would be added to the BLM lease form) requires restoration of stream channels/drainages to 
protect stream flow in the event of damage. 

Minimal logging is anticipated in this area in the future. Effects from logging would impact 
surface water quality and increase sedimentation. Recreation is fairly limited in the area due to 
the lack of developed recreational facilities. Hunting is the primary recreational activity in this 
area, and impacts to streams from four-wheeling activity can result in increased sedimentation 
and damage to drainage channels. 

3.5.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

Stipulations that affect surface water and serve to mitigate potential impacts on the Iron Point 
and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts include: 

*■ Establishing a monitoring system to locate, measure, and quantify progressive and 
final effects of underground mining activities would be required under the mine 
permit issued from Colorado DMG; 

► Restoring stream channels and protecting stream flow, in the event of adverse 
affects from subsidence would be a requirement of the lease; 

► Water replacement is required under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation 
Act (SMCRA). A water replacement plan for any injury that may be due to mining. 
Replacement sources may include, but would not be limited to, transfer of water 
rights, augmentation plans, long-term water use leases or compensatory storage. 
The plan should include all water sources; and, 

► No surface occupancy or use would be allowed in wetland areas, floodplains, or 
riparian areas and this stipulation would be a requirement of the lease and 
exploration license. 

A plan for assessing the existing integrity of Terror Creek Reservoir and a plan for monitoring 
the stability would be required. 

Baseline monitoring for surface water quantity and quality should be continued on the lease 
tracts and exploration iicense area as would be required under the mine permit. Due to the 
potential temporary loss of baseflow in sections of Hubbard Creek from dewatering of the D 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-81 

seam in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract, it is recommended that stream flow and water quality 
monitoring be continued at the existing Hubbard Creek locations. 

At least one additional surface water monitoring site should be installed on Hubbard Creek, 
either above or below the sandstone outcrop located below the historic (now abandoned) Blue 
Ribbon Mine. Monthly instantaneous flow monitoring should be taken at a minimum. 
Continuous monitoring of flow would provide the best indication of baseflow and any impact to 
the surface water flow in Hubbard Creek resulting from dewatering the D seam. 

Monthly monitoring of flow and quality should be established on Bear and Elk creeks above and 
below the expected zone of influence from mining the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, and this type 
of monitoring would probably be required under a future mine permit. 

3.6 GROUNDWATER 

Issue: Identify and minimize impacts to water quality and hydrology to maintain the integrity of 
watersheds within and surrounding the lease tract areas. Maintain adequate flows to drainages 
and ditches above underground mining activity. Areas of concern include: the potential to alter 
existing hydrologic systems; alteration of downstream flow rates; alteration of existing springs 
and seeps; changes in water chemistry as a result of mining operations; and, impacts to water 
rights on Terror Creek, Hubbard Creek, Bear Creek, and Elk Creek. 

3.6.1 Introduction 

The study area for groundwater hydrology includes the region within a 1 mile radius of the 
proposed coal lease tracts and the exploration license area. Particular attention was given to 
the area of potential subsidence induced impacts (see Figure 14, Subsidence Potential Map). 

The analysis of groundwater hydrology includes wells, springs and seeps, and stockponds fed 
by springs. Springs are defined as flowing at a rate of greater than or equal to one gallon per 
minute (gpm). Seeps flow rates are less than one gpm or are not measurable. 

Information for this evaluation was derived from the following sources: 

► Groundwater quality and quantity data for area wells and springs from Bowie, 
Oxbow, USGS, and Hotchkiss Ranches, as well as on-the-ground site visits by the 
North Fork Coal EIS team. 

► Water rights information within a 1 mile radius from the Iron Point and Elk Creek 
Coal Lease Tracts and Iron Point Exploration License area from the Colorado State 
Engineers Office, Division of Water Resources. 

► Review of Bowie and Oxbow data, annual hydrology reports, permit applications, and 
consultant reports related to groundwater hydrology. 

► Regional NEPA documents. 

► Review of reports, data, and maps compiled by the USGS, Colorado DMG, Forest 
Service, and BLM. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-82 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.6.2 Affected Environment 

3.6.2.1 Regional Hydrogeology 

The primary groundwater-bearing zones in the North Fork of the Gunnison River Basin occur in 
Quaternary alluvial, colluvial, glacial, and eoiian deposits and Cretaceous bedrock. Alluvial 
deposits along the North Fork of the Gunnison River represent a major aquifer. The municipal 
water supply for the town of Paonia is derived from groundwater wells developed in alluvium 
along the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Alluvial water-bearing units are thickest in the axis 
of the drainage bottoms and are typically 100 feet or less in thickness. The water quality of the 
alluvial groundwater is calcium bicarbonate type and good quality. The TDS concentrations of 
the groundwater range from 43 to 2,300 mg/l with concentrations of sulfate, TDS, and 
manganese sometimes exceeding federal drinking water standards. Well yields from this zone 
range from 1 to 150 gpm and average about 20 gpm (Ackerman and Brooks, 1985). 

Colluvial water-bearing units located on valley slopes are generally isolated and are limited in 
extent. These units are normally saturated seasonally and have a low storage capacity and 
yield. Most springs and seeps in the region issue from colluvial deposits underlain by less 
permeable bedrock. Seasonal spring discharge from colluvial deposits ranges from 0.2 to 20 
gpm and averages 5 gpm (Ackerman and Brooks, 1985). Colluvial deposits do not represent 
an aquifer in the region, and no reported wells are developed in this zone; however, numerous 
seasonal springs and seeps issuing from these zones have been developed for livestock 
watering and support wildlife. Spring development is usually accomplished by construction of 
small stock watering ponds in area drainages. 

The primary bedrock water-bearing zones in the North Fork of the Gunnison River basin are in 
the sandstone and conglomerate units and fractured zones of the Lower Cretaceous Burro 
Canyon Formation and Late Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone. Minor groundwater occurrence is 
reported in the Late Cretaceous Mancos Shale, Mesa Verde Formation, and Tertiary Wasatch 
Formation. Saturated bedrock units are generally confined in nature, except near outcrops 
where they are typically unconfined. 

Well yields from the Burro Canyon Formation/Dakota Sandstone (undifferentiated) are generally 
greater than 10 gpm (Ackerman and Brooks, 1985). Groundwater from the Mancos Shale is 
unsuitable for drinking or agricultural use; however, well yields from this formation reportedly 
range from 0.5 to 15 gpm (Ackerman and Brooks, 1985). Wells completed in the Mesa Verde 
Formation typically yield less than 10 gpm (Ackerman and Brooks, 1985). Limited data from 
wells completed in the Wasatch Formation indicate yields as much as 25 gpm (Ackerman and 
Brooks, 1985). No data is available for other Tertiary age deposits in the region. Spring flow 
from the Mancos, Mesa Verde, and Wasatch formations ranges from 1 to 25 gpm, averaging 10 
gpm (Ackerman and Brooks, 1985). 

Water quality from bedrock wells is generally sodium bicarbonate/sulfate type with TDS 
concentrations ranging from 490 to 8,200 mg/l, averaging 2,569 mg/l. Concentrations of 
sulfate, TDS, manganese, and fluoride sometimes exceed federal drinking water guidelines 
(USEPA, 1994). Water collected from springs issuing from bedrock is calcium sulfate type with 
TDS concentrations ranging from 56 to 4,300 mg/l, averaging 1 ,956 mg/l (Ackerman and 
Brooks, 1985). Concentrations of selenium, sulfate, TDS, and manganese sometimes exceed 
federal drinking water guidelines (USEPA, 1994). See Figure 19, Groundwater Hydrology. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3 -83 

Recharge of the water-bearing zones is by seepage from area streams, direct infiltration of 
precipitation and snowmelt. Alluvial water-bearing zones are hydraulically connected with 
adjacent bedrock and intermixing of the two units with groundwater is likely (Ackerman and 
Brooks, 1 985). The shallow alluvial and colluvial groundwater flow follows local topography. 
The regional bedrock groundwater flow direction is northeast following the regional geologic dip 
of about 5 degrees. Locally, bedrock groundwater flow paths follow topography and are 
affected by numerous drainages bisecting the region. 

3.6.2.2 Mine Site Hydrogeology 

Groundwater occurs within the proposed exploration license area and coal lease tracts in the 
Quaternary alluvial and colluvial deposits, Wasatch Formation, and Mesa Verde Formation. 

Saturated alluvium along the North Fork of the Gunnison River and primary tributary drainages 
(Terror and Hubbard creeks) has been developed for industrial, domestic, and livestock use. 
Area well yields range from 5 to 120 gpm and average 17 gpm (Bowie, 1998 and Oxbow, 
1 999). Several domestic wells are located at the mouths of Terror and Hubbard creeks. 

Oxbow utilizes an infiltration gallery for its main fresh water source. The gallery is established 
in the alluvium of the North Fork of the Gunnison River south of Sanborn Creek. The reported 
maximum withdrawal rate is about 50 gpm (Oxbow, 1999). 

The alluvial groundwater resources in the North Fork of the Gunnison River, as well as in Terror 
and Hubbard creeks, are elevationally lower than the proposed mined coal seams and are 
outside the predicted zone of potential mine-induced impacts. Saturated alluvium is unconfined 
and is recharged primarily by seepage from rivers and streams and, to a minor extent, by 
discharge from water-bearing bedrock and direct precipitation. Groundwater flow gradient in 
the alluvium follows the local drainage topography. 

Water-bearing colluvial deposits are found along the slopes of area drainages and on the gentle 
terrain of the ridge tops, as noted by the occurrence of numerous seasonal springs and seeps. 
These saturated deposits are perched, limited in lateral extent, and are not considered 
significant water resources. However, several local stockponds are constructed to collect the 
seasonal spring flow. Local springs and seeps issue from these zones during periods of high 
precipitation and snowmelt. Seasonal spring and seep flows range from less than 1 gpm to 
about 5 gpm and are reported to be dry from summer to spring except after major precipitation 
events. Direct precipitation and snowmelt recharge these deposits. Groundwater is 
unconfined, and the flow direction follows the local topography. 

The Wasatch Formation is composed of interbedded sandstone, siltstone, shale, and claystone. 
Sandstone beds are generally thin and limited in lateral extent. The Wasatch Formation 
outcrops on the gentle ridge tops of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract and Iron Point Exploration 
License area. Groundwater occurrence has been identified from numerous seeps and springs. 
These springs are generally perennial and are associated with thin sandstone outcrops 
overlying shale or claystone beds. Flow rates typically decrease during the summer and fall 
seasons (personal communication with Dan Hudson of Hotchkiss Ranches). 

Springs and seeps also issue from landslide deposits in the Wasatch Formation where 
slumping has juxtaposed permeable strata with low permeable material. Slumping features 
also form catchments that hold snowmelt runoff enhancing recharge potential. Springs that 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-84 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

issue from landslide deposits are ephemeral, flowing only during the wet season and during 
periods of high precipitation (personal communication with Dan Hudson of Hotchkiss Ranches). 

The saturated zones in the Wasatch Formation are considered perched and with limited storage 
potential. Due to the outcrop location and gentle terrain of Wasatch Formation, recharge is 
primarily from snowmelt and direct precipitation infiltration. Numerous (about 40) local 
stockponds are fed from springs issuing from the Wasatch Formation. See Figure 19, 
Groundwater Hydrology. 

Based on mining and drilling data and spring and seep surveys, groundwater in the Mesa Verde 
Formation is limited to isolated sandstone beds in the barren and coal bearing members, the 
Rollins Sandstone member, various coal beds, and along fault and fracture zones. Low primary 
permeability and limited storage capacity of the Mesa Verde Formation hydrogeologic units limit 
potential groundwater resource development (Brooks, 1983). However, significant quantities of 
groundwater are reported where the Mesa Verde Formation is fractured (Brooks, 1983). 

Bowie reports perched water-bearing sandstone zones between the Rollins Sandstone and C 
coal seam and above the D coal seam (Bowie, 1998). The D coal seam is apparently saturated 
on the west side of Hubbard Creek as indicated by numerous springs and seeps. 

Exploration drilling and mining activity at the Oxbow Mine have indicated perched groundwater 
zones below the E coal seam, in the D coal seam below its outcrop/subcrop with Elk Creek, and 
in the clastic sequence overlying the C and B coal seams (Oxbow, 1999). 

Numerous springs and seeps issue from sandstone beds in the upper Mesa Verde Formation in 
the proposed Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts and Iron Point Exploration License 
area. Most of these springs are reported to be perennial (personal communication with J. 
Stover of Stover & Associates and Dan Hudson of Hotchkiss Ranches). 

Spring flows range from less than 1 gpm to about 25 gpm with flow decreasing during dry 
seasons. Direct precipitation and snowmelt infiltration recharge these deposits. Seepage from 
local streams provides little recharge due the steep stream gradients and gaining character in 
the upper drainages where these units outcrop. 

Groundwater is unconfined near outcrop and semi-confined to confined in deeper subsurface. 
Groundwater flow direction follows the local topography near drainages and flows to the 
northeast (regional geologic dip of about 5 degrees) in other areas. 

A summary of the spring and seep data is presented in Table 3.6-1, Spring and Seep Summary 
- Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration License Area, and Table 3.6.2, Spring, Seep and 
Pond Summary - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. Locations are shown on Figure 19, Groundwater 
Hydrology. 

The Rollins Sandstone member in the proposed coal lease tracts and adjacent areas is 
unsaturated near the outcrops and becomes saturated down dip to the northeast. The low 
primary permeability and storage of this unit preclude it as being a significant water-bearing 
unit. No known water supply wells in the area are developed in the Rollins Sandstone. Drilling 
and monitoring well data indicates that the Rollins Sandstone is confined with a groundwater 
flow gradient to the northeast, following the geologic dip of the strata. Infiltration from local 
drainages crossing outcrops recharges this unit. 



Q 
I 

3- 



6) 



s 

Si? 

s» 

S. 
3 

3 
a 



6) 
O 
»-* 

00 

KT 

3 
S 



Table 3.6-1 
Spring and Seep Summary - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration Area 


Site 


Location 


Drainage 


Flow 
Rate 

(gpm) 


Origin 


Pond or 
Wetland 


Overburden 

Thickness 

(D-Seam) 


Impact Designation 
(High, Moderate, Low 3 ) 


Northing 


Easting 


Elevation 


Alt. A 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


S-1 


5526.56 


16929.41 


6990 


B Gulch 


0-0.94 






50 


- 


- 


- 


- 


S-2 


13215.22 


16737.20 


7920 


Freeman 
Gulch 


0-1.88 




Pond 


1360 


L 


L 


L 


L 


S-3 


13019.03 


16256.55 


7920 


Freeman 
Gulch 


0-3.75 






1360 


L 


L 


L 


L 


S-4' 


13782.00 


15415.42 


7880 


Terror Creek 


0-0.75 




Pond P-4 


1350 


L 


L 


L 


L 


S-4a 


13999.99 


15513.73 


7910 


Terror Creek 


0.36- 
1.88 






1390 


L 


L 


L 


L 


S-5' 


14939.20 


15962.65 


7800 


Sheep 
Corral 


0.09- 
0.54 




Pond P-5 


1330 


L 


L 


L 


L 


S-5a 


14917.40 


15798.79 


7850 


Sheep 
Corral 


0.16-4.3 






1390 


L 


L 


L 


L 


S-8 


6554.664 


16515.24 


7220 


C Gulch 


0-2.5 






340 


H 


H 


H 


H 


S-10 


8766.37 


13910.51 


7550 


Stevens 
Draw 


0-2.5 






750 


M 


M 


M 


M 


S-11 


10746.95 


13909.31 


7940 


Stevens 
Draw 









1260 


L 


L 


L 


L 


S-12 


5816.85 


15363.64 


7640 


B Gulch 









670 


H 


H 


H 


H 


S-1 3 


10401.77 


21709.23 


7500 


Freeman 
Gulch 


0-0.27 






960 


M-H 


M-H 


M-H 


M-H 


S-1 4 


5818.85 


13686.75 


7080 


Stevens 
Draw 


0.06- 
1.25 




Pond P-1 


150 


H 


H 


H 


H 


S-16 1 


14087.18 


14486.89 


7760 


Terror Creek 


0.06- 
18.75 




Pond P-3 


1230 


L 


L 


L 


L 



00 



o 

I 

O 

Q 



s- 

s. 

3 

a 

3 

CD 

3 

I 

6) 
CO 

sr 

3 

CD 
3 



Table 3.6-1 
Spring and Seep Summary - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration Area 


Site 


Location 


Drainage 


Flow 
Rate 

(gpm) 


Origin 


Pond or 
Wetland 


Overburden 

Thickness 

(D-Seam) 


Impact Designation 
(High, Moderate, Low 3 ) 


Northing 


Easting 


Elevation 


Alt. A 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


S-17 


11942.72 


20346.30 


7080 


Freeman 
Gulch 


0-18.75 


KmvSs 
bed 




590 


M-H 


M-H 


M-H 


M-H 


S-18' 


15253.54 


13958.37 


7600 


Terror Creek 


0-3.75 




Pond P-6 


1120 


- 


L 


L 


- 


S2-2 


13881.46 


22252.46 


6760 


Hubbard 
Creek 


0-15.5 






410 


- 


H 


H 


- 


S2-3 


1 2626.06 


22125.28 


6720 


Hubbard 
Creek 


0-1.25 






340 


L 


H 


H 


- 


S2-4 


11445.35 


24310.26 


6520 


Hubbard 
Creek 









140 


- 


H 


H 


- 


S2-5 


10813.71 


23746.01 


6720 


Hubbard 
Creek 


0-0.83 






310 


L 


H 


H 


- 


S2-6 


11802.38 


23443.25 


6660 


Hubbard 
Creek 


0-10.71 






240 


L 


H 


H 


- 


S2-7 


12095.13 


22870.02 


6640 


Hubbard 
Creek 


0.37.5 






270 


L 


H 


H 


- 


S2-8 


12209.00 


22454.08 


6680 


Hubbard 
Creek 


0-1 






290 


L 


H 


H 


- 


S32-2 


21740.45 


10954.91 


7670 


Terror Creek 







Pond 32-2 


1430 


- 


- 


- 


- 


S32-6 


17871.89 


10737.03 


7560 


Terror Creek 


0-12.1 






1160 


- 


- 


~ 


- 


S32-7 


22361.73 


10617.82 


7760 


Terror Creek 


0-6.05 






1550 


- 


- 


- 


- 


S33-1 


21170.09 


16656.08 


7470 


Dove Gulch 


0-0.42 






1270 


- 


L 


L 


- 


S33-2 


19540.30 


17002.08 


7570 


Dove Gulch 


1.09-30 






1340 


- 


L 


L 


- 


S33-4 


16007.17 


15120.64 


7790 


Sheep 
Corral 







Pond 33-3 


1370 


- 


L 


L 





3£ 

© 

I 

o 

o 



s 

a? 

3' 
3 

3 

O 
•>* 

c/) 

sr 
sr 

3 
a 



Table 3.6-1 
Spring and Seep Summary - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration Area 


Site 


Location 


Drainage 


Flow 
Rate 

(gpm) 


Origin 


Pond or 
Wetland 


Overburden 

Thickness 

(D-Seam) 


Impact Designation 
(High, Moderate, Low 3 ) 


Northing 


Easting 


Elevation 


Alt. A 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


SP33-5 


17531.09 


13698.53 


7760 


Terror creek 


0-2.5 


Qls 


Pond 33-5 


1410 


- 


L 


L 


- 


SP33-6 


17552.48 


12659.77 


7860 


Terror Creek 


0-0.5 


KmvSs 


Pond 33-6 


1260 


- 


L 


L 


- 


S33-8 


17151.92 


13687.54 


7800 


Terror Creek 


0-0.5 




Pond 33-7 


1400 


- 


L 


L 


- 


S33-9 






7440 


Dove Gulch 


0-3 






1360 


- 


L 


L 


L 


S34-1 


20410.98 


17472.58 


7300 


Dove Gulch 


0.31- 
3.95 






1110 


- 


L 


L 


L 


SP34-2 


20287.55 


17726.19 


7260 


Dove Gulch 


1.91-15 




Pond 34-2 
Wetland 


1120 


- 


L 


L 


L 


S34-3 


20075.34 


1 7928.33 


7310 


Dove Gulch 


0.32-1.7 






1130 


- 


L 


L 


L 


S34-4 


19950.26 


18116.36 


7280 


Dove Gulch 


1.03- 

3.95 






1100 


- 


L 


L 


L 


S34-5 


19873.83 


18422.79 


7300 


Dove Gulch 


0.47- 
10.71 






1120 


- 


L 


L 


L 


S34-6 


22333.91 


214473.8 

7 


6540 


Hubbard 
Creek 









540 


- 


M 


M 


- 


S34-7 


16403.34 


17421.77 


7390 


Sheep 
Corral 


0-4.41 






980 


- 


M-H 


M-H 


M-H 


S34-8 


20085.27 


19128.26 


7200 


Dove Gulch 







Wetland 


1060 


- 


L 


L 


L 


S34-9 


20179.11 


18975.42 


7200 


Dove Gulch 


0.23- 
42.86 




Wetland 


1060 


- 


L 


L 


L 


S34-10 


17932.22 


21425.65 


6640 


Dove Gulch 


0-11 






450 


- 


H 


H 


- 


SP34-11 


16898.56 


16907.40 


7420 


Sheep 
Corral 


0.84- 

18.75 




Pond 


1070 


- 


L 


L 


L 



Co 

N 



Q 

I 

o 

o 

m 



O 

3 
3' 

3 

3 
<d 
a 

I 

&) 
o 

CO 

sr 

CD 



fD 
3 



Table 3.6-1 
Spring and Seep Summary - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration Area 


Site 


Location 


Drainage 


Flow 
Rate 

(gpm) 


Origin 


Pond or 
Wetland 


Overburden 

Thickness 

(D-Seam) 


Impact Designation 
(High, Moderate, Low 3 ) 


Northing 


Easting 


Elevation 


Alt. A 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


S34-1 7 


23261.81 


21760.72 


6600 


Hubbard 
Creek 


0-4.17 






620 


- 


- 


- 


- 


S34-1 8 


22993.90 


21640.04 


6560 


Point Gulch 


0-1.5 






570 


- 


- 


- 


- 


S34-19 


20296.42 


21620.75 


6480 


Hubbard 
Cieek 


0-7.5 






370 


- 


H 


H 


- 


S34-20 


18729.92 


21884.18 


6440 


Hubbard 
Creek 


0-0.58 






280 


- 


H 


H 


- 


S34-21 


17674.15 


22213.37 


6440 


Hubard 

Creek 


0-10.71 






250 


- 


H 


H 


- 


S34-22 


17814.92 


21554.98 


6720 


Dove Gulch 


0-35 






510 


- 


M 


M 


- 


S34-23 


17990.88 


21237.54 


6680 


Dove Gulch 


0-75 






460 


- 


H 


H 


- 


S34-24 


1 5960.28 


22676.98 


6380 


Hubbard 
Creek 








160 


- 


H 


H 


- 


Pond 








Terror Creek 






Pond P32- 
3 


1320 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Pond 








Freeman 
Gulch 






Pond P-2 
Wetland 


n.a. 


M 


M 


M 


M 


Pond 








Terror Creek 






Pond P33- 

7 


1430 


- 


L 


L 


- 


PD-82 2 


5570.26 


7361.13 


7580 


Terror Creek 






Pond 


750 


- 


L 


L 


- 


8-5 2 


7194.58 


5334.93 


7800 


Terror Creek 








1075 


- 


- 


- 


- 


PD-22 2 


6898.47 


6487.10 


7520 


Terror Creek 






Ponds 


875 


- 


- 


- 


- 


7-9 2 


8135.16 


4671.55 


7800 


Terror Creek 








1250 


- 


- 


- 


- 


7-1 


10597.83 


4851.19 


7680 


Terror Creek 






Pond 


1250 


- 


- 


- 


- 



5 
o 

I 

O 
o 



S 

Si; 
S. 

3 

3 

3 

a 
ST 

I 

B> 
O 
f* 

sr 

o 
a 



Table 3.6-1 
Spring and Seep Summary - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration Area 


Site 


Location 


Drainage 


Flow 
Rate 

(gpm) 


Origin 


Pond or 
Wetland 


Overburden 

Thickness 

(D-Seam) 


Impact Designation 
(High, Moderate, Low 3 ) 


Northing 


Easting 


Elevation 


Alt. A 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


7-2 


10250.11 


5432.70 


7780 


Terror Creek 






Pond 


1275 


- 


- 


- 


- 


8-4 2 


7507.02 


8514.07 


7160 


Terror Creek 








400 


- 


- 


- 


- 


PD-21 2 


7339.57 


8782.60 


7160 


Terror Creek 






Pond 8-4 


275 


- 


- 


- 


- 


PD-18 2 


11688.97 


8008.01 


7320 


Terror Creek 






Pond 


775 


- 


L 


L 


- 


SP5-A 2 


11705.71 


7705.92 


7320 


Terror Creek 


1 gpm 


Kmv 
Ssbed 


(P18) 
Wetland 


800 


- 


L 


L 


- 


5-1 2 


11605.24 


6782.87 


7400 


Terror Creek 


<1 gpm 


Qc 




900 


- 


L 


L 


- 


S5-B 


14808.89 


9795.83 


7280 


Terror Creek 


2-5 gpm 


KmvSs 
bed 


Red 
Hughes 


800 


- 


-- 


M 


- 


6-6 2 


11766.31 


5018.04 


7880 


Terror Creek 








1250 


- 


- 


-- 


-- 


PD-17" 2 


6170.15 


14032.92 


7560 


Terror Creek 






Pond 


1100 


- 


- 


L 


- 


5-2 2 


13053.01 


8803.25 


7200 


Terror Creek 


1 gpm 


Kmv 
Ssbed 


Wetland 


675 


- 


M 


M 


- 


Notes: 

1 . Water Right 

2. From Bowie No. 1 Spring Survey and Monitoring Network 

3. Impact Designation is a qualitative assessment based on predicted subsidence impacts, preliminary mining plans, and potential mine dewatering and recharge. 

Springs S-6, 7, 9 & 15 were eliminate during 1997 construction 






5 
o 

I 

3" 
» 

o 

o 

6) 



o 

3 

S" 
s. 

3 

a 

3 

(8 

a 

I 
as 
o 
i=* 

(/) 

?- v 
6) 

CD 

3 

CD 

a 









Table 3.6-2 
Spring, Seep and Pond Summary - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 






Site 


Location (GPS date) 


Drainage 


Flow 
Rate 

(gpm) 


Origin 


Pond or 
Wetland 


Overburden 

Thickness 

(D-Seam) 


Impact Designation 
(High, Moderate, Low 3 ) 


Northing 


Easting 


Elevation 


Alt. A 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


ECP-1 


12408.15 


37991 .80 


8040 


Elk Creek 


Goes dry 


- 


Runoff 
Pond 


1800 


L 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-2 


19033.35 


36479.85 


8290 


Bear Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 


Pond 


2400 


-- 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-3 


18884.01 


35991.13 


8200? 


Bear Creek 


Perennial 


TW 
Ssbed 


Pond 


2325 


- 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP4 


13841.79 


35390.17 


8000 


Fire Mtn. 


Goes dry 


Qls 


Pond 


1700 


- 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-5 


18918.19 


40222.65 


7812 


Elk Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 


Pond 


2150 


- 


L 


L 


L 


ECP-6 


18805.27 


40326.32 


7800 


Elk Creek 


Goes dry 


- 


Runoff 
Pond 


2100 


- 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-7 


19224.82 


39912.94 


8858 


Elk Creek 


Perennial 


TwSs 
bed 


Pond 
Wetlands 


2225 


~ 


L 


L 


L 


ECP-8 


13252.39 


40312.46 


7950? 


Elk Creek 




- 


Runoff 
Pond 


1625 


L 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-9 


19252.90 


40253.62 


8646 


Elk Creek 


Goes dry 


Qls 


Pond 


2175 


- 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-10 


19314.32 


35547.48 


8190 


Bear Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 


Pond 


2475 


- 


L 


L 


L 


ECP-1 1 


19392.57 


35212.93 


8244 


Bear Creek 


Goes dry 


- 


Runoff 
Pond 


2500 


-- 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-12 


19263.54 


35486.48 


8125 


Bear Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 


Pond 


2450 


~ 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-13 


19591.55 


39866.52 


8435 


Bear Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 


Pond 


2300 


- 


L 


L 


L 


ECP-1 4 


5402.21 


30892.71 


7300 


North Fork 


Goes dry 


- 


Runoff 
Pond 




- 


- 


- 


- 



5 



I 

o 
o 



s 

? 

3' 
a 

3 

a 

I 

O 
C/> 

5? 
c? 

3 

(B 

a 



Table 3.6-2 
Spring, Seep and Pond Summary - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 


Site 


Location (GPS date) 


Drainage 


Flow 
Rate 

(gpm) 


Origin 


Pond or 
Wetland 


Overburden 

Thickness 

(D-Seam) 


Impact Designation 
(High, Moderate, Low 3 ) 


Northing 


Easting 


Elevation 


Alt. A 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


ECSP-15' 


25054.24 


35185.29 


7458 


Bear Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 




2500 


-- 


- 


- 


-- 


ECP-16 


19983.20 


30877.92 


7923 


Bear Creek 


Never dry 


Tw 
Ssbed 


Pond 
Wetland 


1500 


-- 


M 


M 


M 


ECSP-17 


25061.07 


30831.17 


7912 


Lone Pine 
Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 


New Pond 
Wetland 


2025 


- 


-- 


- 


- 


ECSP-18 


196966.13 


26500.94 


7916 


Bear Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 


Pond 


1875 


- 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-19 


19772.29 


30395.86 


8281 


Bear Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 


Pond 


1475 


-- 


M 


M 


M 


ECP-20 


11914.16 


36334.47 


7740 


North Fork 


? 


- 


Runoff 
Pond 


1650 


L 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-21 


20109.27 


30882.45 


7800 


Lone Pine 
Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 
Ssbed 


Pond 


1625 


-- 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-22 


25185.68 


26399.71 


8008 


Hubbard 
Creek 




Qls 




2075 


-- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


ECP-23 


25350.31 


30458.98 


7710 


Lone Pine 
Creek 


Goes dry 


- 


Runoff 
Pond 


2050 


-- 


-- 


- 


-- 


ECP-24 


19515.87 


35391.04 


8150? 


Bear Creek 


Goes dry 


- 


Runoff 
Pond 


2525 


-- 


L 


L 


L 


ECSP-25 


22785.66 


40490.32 


8250 


Elk Creek 


Perennial 


Tw 

Ssbed 


Pond 


2550 


-- 


- 


- 


-- 


ECP-26 


21470.92 


40138.94 


8100 


Elk Creek 


Goes dry 


- 


Runoff 
Pond 


2475 


-- 


L 


L 


L 


ECP-27 


25238.37 


30862.60 


7635 


Elk Creek 


Goes dry 


-- 


Runoff 
Pond 


2050 


- 


- 


-- 


-- 



Table 3.6-2 
Spring, Seep and Pond Summary - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 


Site 


Location (GPS date) 


Drainage 


Flow 
Rate 

(gpm) 


Origin 


Pond or 
Wetland 


Overburden 
Thickness 

(D-Seam) 


Impact Designation 
(High, Moderate, Low 3 ) 


Northing 


Easting 


Elevation 


Alt. A 


Alt. B 


Alt. C 


Alt. D 


ECSP-28 


19669.15 


26373.42 


8271 


Bear Creek 




Tw 
Ssbed 


Wetland 


1775 


- 


L 


L 


L 


EC-1 2 








Elk Creek 




Mvf 
Ss 




n.a 


H 


H 


H 


H 


SP-1 2 


1 1 1 76.25 


54501.72 




Sanborn 
Creek 






Pond 


n.a 


- 


-- 


-- 


- 


SP-2 2 


13502.97 


54999.94 




Sanborn 
Creek 








n.a. 


- 


- 


- 


-- 


SP-3 2 


12776.77 


53785.60 




Sanborn 

Creek 








n.a. 


- 


-- 


-- 


-- 


SP-4 2 


14320.94 


54966.21 




Sanborn 
Creek 






Pond 


n.a. 


- 


- 


-- 


- 


SP-5 2 


14276.11 


54397.37 




Sanborn 
Creek 








n.a. 


-- 


- 


-- 


- 


SP-6 2 


12977.77 


55407.05 




Sanborn 
Creek 






Pond 


n.a. 


- 


- 


- 


- 


SP-7 2 


5656.60 


48712.42 




Sanborn 
Creek 






Pond 


n.a. 


-- 


-- 


-- 


- 


SP-9 2 


5594.20 


46217.00 




Sanborn 
Creek 








n.a. 


- 


-- 


- 


- 


SP-10 2 


6130.77 


55977.28 




Sanborn 
Creek 






Pond 


n.a. 


" 


-- 


- 


- 


Notes: 1. Drinking Water Source 

2. From Oxbow Mining Spring Survey and Monitoring Network 

3. Impact Designation is a qualitative assessment based on predicted subsidence impacts, preliminary mining plans, and potential mine dewatering and recharge. 

n.a. - not applicable 

Information from Hotchkiss Ranches and EIS team unless noted. 



to 
to 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-93 

Current and historic mining in the area have encountered groundwater in the coal seams and 
adjacent strata. See Figure 3, Historic Coal Mines and Federal Coal Lease Locations, for 
current and historic mine locations. The Bowie No. 2 Mine is developed in the D seam and 
reports inflows of less than 1 gpm (Bowie, 1998). The D seam in this area is above 
outcrop/subcrop with local streams. 

The Sanborn Creek Mine is developed in the B and C seams with average inflows of 100 gpm 
and peak flows of 250 gpm near fractured zones. This mine is situated below the 
outcrop/subcrop of the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 

The Oliver Mine was developed in the D seam mostly above the outcrop/subcrop with Elk 
Creek. Historic information indicates mostly dry conditions with inflows ranging from to 6 gpm 
(Oxbow, 1999). 

Seeps and springs issue from coal seam outcrops, particularly on the north and east sides of 
local drainages. The most notable site is located in middle Hubbard Creek drainage where 
springs and seeps from the D seam outcrops create a marshy area. 

Increased groundwater flow potential is expected near fault and fractured zones in all of the 
water-bearing strata of the area. However, little information is currently available to confirm 
this, except where mining operations have crossed fault zones. As stated above, the Sanborn 
Creek Mine experienced peak inflow rates about 2.5 times greater than average rates when 
crossing faulted zones (Oxbow, 1999). The Bowie mines have been typically dry, even in 
fractured terrain. 

3.6.2.3 Groundwater Quality 

Bowie and Oxbow have collected groundwater quality data for the past several years. Bowie 
has long term data from monitoring wells and springs at the Bowie No. 1 Mine, on the west side 
of Terror Creek. Bowie has also collected baseline data from numerous springs and wells near 
the Bowie No. 2 Mine and within the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. 

Oxbow has collected limited baseline data on groundwater quality from their current fee areas 
for the Sanborn Creek Mine. Baseline data is not available from the Elk Creek Lease Tract 
area. 

For the purpose of this document, the water quality data from the Sanborn Creek monitoring 
sites are assumed to be similar to the Elk Creek Lease Tract. It is important to note that the 
Oxbow and Bowie laboratory water quality parameters are slightly different and that the 
groundwater quality discussions vary accordingly. 

A summary of water quality data is presented in Table 3.6-3, Selected Water Quality Summary 
- Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes. Locations of the monitoring sites are shown on Figure 19, 
Groundwater Hydrology. The following discussion considers average water quality data and 
parameters that exceed federal primary and secondary drinking water standards (USEPA, 
1994). 

Iron Point Exploration License Area and Coal Lease Tract - The groundwater quality in the 
Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Iron Point Exploration License area varies depending on the 
geologic unit. The water quality from the alluvial monitoring wells located in the drainages 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



4 
o 

I 
o 

o 



D 

S 
St 

s. 

s 

s 
3 
a 

I 
ai 

CO 

sr 

9 

3 

(D 
3 



Table 3.6-3 
Selected Water Quality Summary - Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes 




Bicarbonate 


Chloride 


TDS 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 
(D) 


Calcium 


Iron (T) 


Lead 
(D) 


Magnesium 
(D) 


Manganese 

(T) ' 


Sodium 
(D) 


Zinc 
(D) 


Water Quality Std. (Mg/I) 


250 


500 


250 


0.2 




0.3 


0.015 




0.05 




5 


Iron Point- Springs 


S-16 


No. of 

Samples 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


5 


Minimum 


107 


0.5 


140 


5 


0.03 


18.2 


0.03 


0.01 


3.2 


0.0025 


10.5 


0.005 


Maximum 


159 


5 


190 


12 


0.17 


35.1 


0.49 


0.02 


6.5 


0.017 


18.2 


0.02 


Average 


129.4 


1.9 


164 


6.4 


0.074 


28.66 


0.148 


0.014 


5.34 


0.0061 


15.44 


0.012 


Standard 
Deviation 


20.5499 


1.8166 


24.08 


3.1305 


0.0586 


6.537 


0.1965 


0.00548 


1.2915 


0.00628 


3.0713 


0.0076 


8-17 


No. of 

Samples 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


4 


Minimum 


266 


2 


300 


20 


0.1 


42 


0.1 


0.01 


17.5 


0.0025 


3.83 


0.005 


Maximum 


298 


3 


380 


30 


5.42 


55 


6.08 


0.02 


19 


0.094 


62.7 


0.04 


Average 


280.25 


2.5 


342.5 


27.5 


2.5175 


50.32 


2.7975 


0.0175 


18.05 


0.03787 


47.7 


0.0237 


Standard 
Deviation 


13.376 


0.5774 


35 


5 


2.6673 


5.763 


2.9769 


0.005 


0.6557 


0.04175 


10.67 


0.0149 


S33-2 


No. of 

Samples 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


Minimum 


218 


2 


260 


30 


0.1 


29.1 


0.04 


0.02 


6.5 0.0025 


0.0025 


59.3 


0.005 


Maximum 


272 


4 


340 


60 


0.64 


42.9 


0.52 


0.1 


9.2 


0.013 


75.7 


0.02 


Average 


244.333 


2.6667 


306.7 


43.3333 


0.3067 


38.27 


0.2533 


0.04667 


8.1667 


0.00717 


67.9 


0.0117 



5 

o 

I 
J 

?r 

O 
o 
ty 



3' 
a 

3 

CD 

a 

sr 

I 

O 
C/> 

5? 

3 

CO 

a 



Table 3.6-3 
Selected Water Quality Summary - Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes 




Bicarbonate 


Chloride 


TDS 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 
(D) 


Calcium 


Iron (T) 


Lead 
(D) 


Magnesium 
(D) 


Manganese 
<T) * 


Sodium 
(D) 


Zinc 
(D) 


Water Quality Std. (Mg/I) 


250 


500 


250 


0.2 




0.3 


0.015 




0.05 




5 


Standard 
Deviation 


27.0247 


1.1547 


41.63 


15.2753 


0.2914 


7.939 


0.2444 


0.04619 


1.4572 


0.00535 


8.2292 


0.0076 


S34-9 


No. of 
Samples 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


Minimum 


250 


7 


400 


90 


0.11 


49.4 


0.09 


0.02 


12.1 


0.0025 


76.4 


0.005 


Maximum 


290 


9 


460 


100 


25.5 


75.2 


27.8 


0.1 


18.2 


0.545 


86.5 


.011 


Average 


275.333 


7.6667 


426.7 


93.3333 


8.6033 


60.47 


9.3367 


0.04667 


14.6 


0.18617 


80.733 


0.04 


Standard 
Deviation 


22.0303 


1.1547 


30.55 


5.7735 


14.633 


13.29 


15.99 


0.04619 


3.1953 


0.31079 


5.2033 


0.0606 


SP34-2 


No. of 

Samples 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


3 


Minimum 


48 


0.5 


90 


5 


0.09 


11.1 


0.08 


0.02 


3.7 


0.0025 


3.4 


0.005 


Maximum 


265 


4 


320 


50 


0.92 


40.5 


0.76 


0.02 


8.4 


0.041 


81 


0.01 


Average 


184 


2.8333 


236.7 


31 .6667 


0.4733 


29.13 


0.4333 


0.02 


6.7 


0.0185 


4B.733 


0.0083 


Standard 
Deviation 


118.495 


2.0207 


127.4 


23.6291 


0.4186 


15.79 


0.3408 





2.6058 


0.02006 


40.416 


0.0029 


Iron Point 


- Alluvial Wells 


















AW-1 




















No. of 

Samples 


7 


7 


7 


7 


1 


1 


7 


1 


2 


7 


1 


1 


Minimum 


453 


38 


3100 


1830 


0.33 


126 


0.13 


0.02 


200 


0.005 


886 


0.03 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






















r? 




Table 3.6-3 
Selected Water Quality Summary - Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes 








CD 

Co 

i 

to 




Bicarbonate 


Chloride 


TDS 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 
(D) 


Calcium 


Iron (T) 


Lead 
(D) 


Magnesium 
(D) 


Manganese 
(T) 


Sodium 
<D) 


Zinc 
(D) 




Water Quality Std. (Mg/I) 


250 


500 


250 


0.2 




0.3 


0.015 




0.05 




5 




Maximum 


657 


79 


8710 


8330 


0.33 


126 


1.69 


0.02 


543 


0.16 


886 


0.03 




Average 


561.286 


58 


5920 


4097.14 


0.33 


126 


0.7357 


0.02 


371.5 


0.039 


886 


0.03 




Standard 
Deviation 


89.8864 


16.533 


2365 


2313.73 








0.4899 





242.5 


0.05658 










AW-3 






5 1 


No. of 

Samples 


7 


7 


7 


7 


1 


1 


7 


1 


1 


7 


1 


1 


Minimum 


615 


46 


1750 


760 


0.4 


206 


0.78 


0.02 


176 


0.051 


233 


0.03 


3 

3 


Maximum 


1100 


136 


2440 


960 


0.4 


206 


27.5 


0.02 


176 


0.14 


233 


0.03 


a 


Average 


817.143 


86.286 


2187 


887.143 


0.4 


206 


12.684 


0.02 


176 


0.10414 


233 


0.03 


6) 


Standard 
Deviation 


202.92 


38.504 


232.2 


65.5017 








8.7624 








0.02942 








a 


AW-4 




(J) 


No. of 

Samples 


7 


7 


7 


7 


1 


1 


7 


1 


1 


7 


1 


1 




Minimum 


609 


49 


3810 


2120 


0.12 


327 


0.1 


0.02 


227 


0.183 


430 


0.03 




Maximum 


790 


63 


5330 


3220 


0.12 


327 


0.45 


0.02 


227 


1.21 


430 


0.03 




Average 


679 


55.429 


4517 


2501.43 


0.12 


327 


0.2514 


0.02 


227 


0.61886 


430 


0.03 




Standard 
Deviation 


79.7433 


5.0615 


631.4 


412.247 








0.1345 








0.36248 








CO 


AW-5 


3 
o- 


No. of 

Samples 


7 


7 


7 


7 


1 


1 


7 


1 


1 


7 


1 


1 


<0 






















<o 



Table 3.6-3 
Selected Water Quality Summary - Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes 




Bicarbonate 


Chloride 


TDS 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 
(D) 


Calcium 


Iron (T) 


Lead 
(D) 


Magnesium 
(D) 


Manganese 
(T) 


Sodium 
(D) 


Zinc 
(D) 


Water Quality Std. (Mg/I) 


250 


500 


250 


0.2 




0.3 


0.015 




0.05 




5 


Minimum 


566 


29 


5380 


1840 


0.08 


317 


0.1 


0.04 


635 


0.009 


525 


0.05 


Maximum 


768 


52 


6690 


4550 


0.08 


317 


0.47 


0.04 


635 


0.02 


525 


0.05 


Average 


702.143 


39.571 


5931 


3514.29 


0.08 


317 


0.2671 


0.04 


635 


0.01343 


525 


0.05 


Standard 
Deviation 


65.7329 


8.7912 


483 


846.46 








0.1451 








0.00395 








AW-6 


No. of 

Samples 


7 


7 


7 


7 


1 


1 


7 


1 


1 


7 


1 


1 


Minimum 


278 


71 


3640 


1740 


1.04 


257 


0.24 


0.02 


320 


0.015 


497 


0.04 


Maximum 


386 


120 


4360 


2510 


1.04 


257 


1.03 


0.02 


320 


0.29 


497 


0.04 


Average 


352.571 


89.857 


3973 


2205.71 


1.04 


257 


0.5586 


0.02 


320 


0.13286 


497 


0.04 


Standard 
Deviation 


37.1701 


19.222 


283.2 


276.276 








0.3264 








0.09839 








Iron Point - Drill Holes 


DH-15 


No. of 
Samples 


8 


8 


8 


3 








8 








8 








Minimum 


441 


23 


1140 


5 








0.17 








0.0025 








Maximum 


1200 


28 


1270 


30 








0.93 








0.028 








Average 


1016.38 


24.875 


1191 


18.33 








0.435 








0.01106 








Standard 
Deviation 


237.558 


1.8077 


40.16 


13.67 








0.258 








0.00766 









3g 
Q 

I 

a- 

o 
o 



S 1 

3' 

a 

3 

fD 
3 

O 

C/> 

sr 
ar 

3 

(6 
3 



Table 3.6-3 
Selected Water Quality Summary - Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes 




Bicarbonate 


Chloride 


TDS 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 
(D) 


Calcium 


Iron (T) 


Lead 
(D) 


Magnesium 
(D) 


Manganese 
(T) 


Sodium 
(D) 


Zinc 
(D) 


Water Quality Std. (Mg/I) 


250 


500 


250 


0.2 




0.3 


0.015 




0,05 




5 


DH-16 


No. of 

Samples 


8 


8 


8 


8 








8 








8 








Minimum 


987 


23 


2890 


1290 








0.78 








0.11 








Maximum 


1200 


34 


3330 


1520 








14.4 








4.03 








Average 


1104.63 


29.75 


3171 


1418.75 








3.9725 








0.7 








Standard 
Deviation 


62.4475 


3.7702 


153.8 


85.5966 








4.3934 








1.35154 








DH-25 
















No. of 

Samples 


8 


8 


8 


8 








8 








8 








Minimum 


1730 


77 


2200 


30 








0.54 








0.03 








Maximum 


2640 


110 


3280 


600 








1.97 








0.091 








Average 


2396.25 


99.625 


2963 


257.5 








1.1213 








0.0505 








Standard 
Deviation 


305.705 


13.12.5 


333.9 


224.101 








0.5724 








0.0208 








DH-34C 


No. of 
Samples 


8 


8 


8 


8 








8 








8 








Minimum 


118 


0.5 


100 


5 








0.1 








0.005 








Maximum 


156 


4 


190 


20 








2.01 








0.041 








Average 


138.375 


1.9375 


162.5 


1 1 .375 








0.52 








0.01125 









58 
o 

I 

11 

o 

O 

o 



a 

8 1 

s. 
3 

3 
m 

5 

I 

O 

CO 

6) 
(D 

3 

CD 
3 



Table 3.6-3 
Selected Water Quality Summary - Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes 




Bicarbonate 


Chloride 


TDS 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 
(D) 


Calcium 


Iron (T) 


Lead 
(D) 


Magnesium 
(D) 


Manganese 


Sodium 
(D) 


Zinc 
(D) 


Water Quality Std. (Mg/I) 


250 


500 


250 


0.2 




0.3 


0.015 




0.05 




5 


Standard 
Deviation 


15.5374 


1.1476 


31.05 


5.80486 








0.6497 








0.01237 








DH-39 


No. of 

Samples 


8 


8 


8 


8 








8 








8 








Minimum 


545 


16 


780 


190 








0.3 








0.057 








Maximum 


603 


20 


900 


260 








25.5 








0.313 








Average 


576.375 


18.375 


841.3 


216.875 








10.806 








0.15775 








Standard 
Deviation 


20.791 1 


1.4079 


42.57 


24.0442 








9.2314 








0.10497 


00 




DH-49 


No. of 

Samples 


8 


8 


8 


8 








8 








8 








Minimum 


496 


14 


700 


180 








0.2 








0.0025 








Maximum 


1540 


20 


2540 


690 








47.8 








0.738 








Average 


864.625 


16.625 


1385 


363.25 








11.595 








0.18769 








Standard 
Deviation 


433.054 


2.2638 


762.1 


196.451 








17.554 








0.25408 








ELK CREEK 


B-6 1 


No. of 
Samples 


29 


29 


30 


28 


-- 


29 


30 


? 


29 


5 


29 


29 


Minimum 





1 


302 


0.5 


- 


0.9 


1.69 


-- 


0.06 -- 


120 


0.0025 














5 

o 

I 

© 



s 

B- 

s, 
3 

Si 

a 

CD 

3 

sr 

I 

n 
(/> 

S s 

«r 



Table 3.6-3 
Selected Water Quality Summary - Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes 




Bicarbonate 


Chloride 


TDS 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 
(D) 


Calcium 


lron(T) 


Lead 
(D) 


Magnesium 
(D) 


Manganese 
(T) 


Sodium 
(D) 


Zinc 
(D) 


Water Quality Std. (Mg/I) 


250 


500 


250 


0.2 




0.3 


0.015 




0,05 




5 


Maximum 


3380 


446 


4890 


820 


- 


49 


176 


-- 


29 


-- 


1920 


0.69 


Average 


971.59 


130.93 


1343 


58.7634 


- 


11.45 


34.46 


- 


4.21 


10.32 


503.97 


0.13 


Standard 
Deviation 


827.47 


122.07 


1075 


154.46 


- 


10.78 


40.65 


- 


6.2 


0.14 


421.21 


.19 


H-10 1 


No. of 

Samples 


35 


35 


36 


35 


-- 


35 


36 


-- 


35 


5 


35 


35 


Minimum 


940 


4 


2688 


1 


- 


0.003 


0.22 


-- 





0.03 


960 





Maximum 


2920 


1070 


4780 


1140 


- 


116 


39 


-- 


42 


0.16 


1780 


0.415 


Average 


2320.31 


309.94 


2983 


94.17 


- 


14.53 


8.39 


-- 


7 


0.10 


1183.4 


0.096 


Standard 
Deviation 


480.33 


153.35 


350,3 


275.02 


- 


24.76 


7.47 


-- 


10.1 


0.06 


160.09 


0.12 


EC-1 1 


No. of 

Samples 


9 


11 


11 


11 


-- 


11 


- 


-- 


11 


- 


11 


11 


Minimum 


73.2 


0.0005 


0.45 


37.5 


- 


5E-04 


0.224 


-- 


0.001 


-- 


0.0005 


0.0005 


Maximum 


578.28 


20 


800 


145 


- 


73.6 


3.55 


-- 


22.08 


- 


160 


0.696 


Average 


434.85 


8.67 


503.6 


89.55 


- 


37.06 


0.99 


-- 


14.44 


-- 


110.47 


0.07 


Standard 
Deviation 


163.89 


6.93 


227.1 


30.89 


-- 


26.99 


1.12 


-- 


6.42 


-- 


58.08 


.21 


SC-1 


No. of 

Samples 


22 


23 


23 


22 


- 


22 


23 


-• 


22 


8 


22 


22 



35 
o 

I 

3" 

5- 
o 

o 



5 

S> 

s, 

3 
a 

3 
o 
a 

I 

i 

3 
a 



Table 3.6-3 
Selected Water Quality Summary - Springs, Alluvial Wells, Drill Holes 




Bicarbonate 


Chloride 


TDS 


Sulfate 


Aluminum 
(D) 


Calcium 


Iron (T) 


Lead 
(D) 


Magnesium 
(D) 


Manganese 
CO 


Sodium 
(D) 


Zinc 

(D) 


Water Quality Std. (Mg/I) 


250 


500 


250 


0.2 




0.3 


0.015 




0.O5 




5 


Minimum 


1452 


1175 


2330 


1 


- 


17.2 


0.29 


-- 


6 


0.014 


2220 


0.005 


Maximum 


4033 


6680 


11373 


88 


- 


61 


15.5 


-- 


20 


0.26 


4200 


4.8 


Average 


2889.55 


3495.6 


8136 


19.54 


- 


25.11 


4.2045 


-- 


11.5 


0.1075 


3227.7 


0.3356 


Standard 
Deviation 


806.535 


1165.9 


1934 


23.653 


- 


9.011 


3.7737 


-- 


2.3995 


0.07563 


535.75 


1 .0067 


SC-2 1 


No. of 
Samples 


22 


22 


22 


22 


- 


23 


22 


- 


22 


8 


22 


22 


Minimum 





150 


720 


2 


- 


1 


0.05 


-- 


0.5 


0.005 


209 


0.0025 


Maximum 


3841 


8800 


15290 


100 


- 


326 


13.9 


- 


35 


0.104 


5320 


0.1 


Average 


1964.77 


4607.7 


10815 


43.3182 


- 


22.89 


3.2791 


-- 


7.8227 


0.02475 


4057.2 


0.0294 


Standard 
Deviation 


1315.74 


2304.6 


3579 


30.3854 


- 


68.06 


3.548 


-- 


7.2219 


0.03293 


1292 


0.0321 


SC-3 1 


No. of 

Samples 


23 


23 


24 


23 


-- 


23 


24 


-- 


23 


10 


23 


23 


Minimum 


336 


6 


408 


14 


- 


46.5 


0.27 


- 


17 


0.1 


116 


0.0025 


Maximum 


567 


117 


1044 


412 


- 


80 


67.2 


-- 


43 


0.35 


241 


0.33 


Average 


451 


25.61 


651 


133.09 


- 


57.82 


17.29 


- 


23.9 


0.21 


157.48 


0.04 


Standard 
Deviation 


64.2439 


26.393 


142.7 


100.348 


-- 


11.25 


14.548 


-- 


8.0599 


0.0841 


32.433 


0.0715 


Note: 1 . Data for this station should be considered preliminary. It has been provided by Oxbow, but has not been verified against laboratory results. 



C/) 

CD 









Page 3-102 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

below the Bowie No. 2 Mine (B Gulch and C Gulch) is calcium sulfate type. Water quality is 
poor with high concentrations of TDS, aluminum, iron, sulfate, and manganese. An alluvial 
monitoring well installed in the Freeman Gulch (DH-34C) has calcium bicarbonate type water 
with high concentrations of iron. The groundwater quality of the alluvial wells is similar to the 
surface water quality in the respective drainages indicating a connectivity between ground and 
surface water. The high sulfate concentration in ground and surface water of the mine 
drainages, B Gulch and C Gulch, indicate impacts from past mining activity. Historic waste coal 
materials and mine portals are located in the B and C gulches below the Bowie No. 2 Mine 
(personal communication with Greg Hunt, Bowie). Seepage from these sites likely impacts the 
TDS, sulfate, iron and manganese concentrations in the surface water and associated shallow 
groundwater. 

Other monitoring wells are installed in the D coal seam overburden, D coal seam, and Rollins 
Sandstone. Two wells (DH-39 and 49) are installed in the overburden directly above the D 
seam. The water quality of these wells is sodium/calcium bicarbonate type with high 
concentrations of TDS, iron, sulfate, and manganese. The water quality from the well installed 
in the Rollins Sandstone (DH-34B) is sodium bicarbonate type with high concentrations of TDS, 
sulfate, iron and chloride. Water quality from wells installed in the D coal seam is sodium 
bicarbonate and sodium sulfate type with high concentrations of TDS, sulfate, iron, and 
manganese. 

Spring water quality is similar throughout the area and is calcium/sodium bicarbonate type and 
typically with high concentrations of aluminum, iron, and manganese. Several springs had lead 
concentrations slightly above laboratory detection limits. Spring S-1 8 was the only site with 
sodium sulfate type water. 

Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - Site specific groundwater quality information is not available for 
the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract area. The following discussion is based on groundwater quality 
data from the Sanborn Creek Mine area (Oxbow, 1999). It is assumed that the groundwater 
quality in the Sanborn Creek Mine area is similar to the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 

Monitoring sites include wells, springs and mine discharge. Groundwater zones are separated 
by geologic units including alluvial/colluvial, perched (clastic beds and coal seams in the 
Wasatch and Mesa Verde formations), D coal seam, B coal seam, and Rollins Sandstone. The 
alluvial/colluvial groundwater is collected from the Oxbow infiltration field installed in the North 
Fork of the Gunnison River alluvium. The groundwater from this site is calcium sulfate type with 
low concentrations of trace constituents. Generally, the quality of the alluvial/colluvial 
groundwater is good and suitable for domestic use with only minimal treatment (chlorination). 

The perched water quality data is derived from eleven springs (EC-1 , SP-1 through 7, and SP-9 
through 11), and two monitoring wells (TC-1 , and TC-2). The perched water quality is generally 
calcium sulfate to sodium bicarbonate type with moderately high concentrations of TDS, iron, 
and manganese. 

Two wells (SC-3 and EC-6) and the Oliver Mine discharge spring are used to monitor D coal 
seam water quality. Water quality from the D coal seam is sodium bicarbonate type with high 
concentrations of TDS, iron, and manganese and sometimes sulfate. Water quality from wells 
(B-6 and H-1 0) installed in the historic Somerset Mine workings (B seam) and mine water inflow 
sites (MWM-1 , MWS-A through D) is sodium bicarbonate type with high concentrations of TDS, 
iron, manganese, and sometimes chloride and sulfate. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-103 

The water quality from the two wells installed in the Rollins Sandstone (SC-1and SC-2) is 
sodium bicarbonate type with high concentrations of TDS, iron and manganese. 

3.6.2.4 Seasonal Trends in Groundwater Quality 

Iron Point Exploration License Area and Coal Lease Tract - Review of Bowie water quality 
data from monitoring wells and springs does not reveal any general seasonal trends in 
groundwater quality at the study area. This is likely due to the relatively short period of record 
for most sampling sites. Alluvial well data has been collected quarterly since 1997. Bedrock 
monitoring well data has been collected since 1995, and spring data has been collected 
sporadically since late 1 997. Seasonal groundwater quality trends will likely become more 
defined when more consistent water quality data becomes available. Typically, seasonal trends 
include increased concentrations of TDS and dissolved constituents and high groundwater 
levels in the spring. 

Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - No site specific groundwater quality data is available for the Elk 
Creek Lease Tract. 

3.6.2.5 Influence of Past and Current Activities on Groundwater Quality 

Iron Point Exploration License Area and Coal Lease Tract - Past and current mining 
activities have affected groundwater quantity and quality. Current mining activities at the Bowie 
No. 2 Mine do not utilize any groundwater for operations. Fresh water for the operation comes 
from the Deertrail Ditch. The Bowie No. 1 and No. 2 mines are essentially dry, and dewatering 
has not been necessary. As a result, there have not been any impacts to groundwater due to 
water consumption or dewatering activities. 

Historic mining activities at the King Mine in the drainages below the Bowie No. 2 Mine have 
apparently impacted the local alluvial groundwater quality. Two mine portals and associated 
coal fines/waste are located in the A and B/C Gulches. Seepage from these sites has caused 
high sulfate and other trace constituent levels in groundwater at the down gradient alluvial 
monitoring wells (AW-1 , 3, 4, 5, and 6). No other impacts have been noted in this area. 

Past and current activities other than mining have affected groundwater quality. Livestock 
grazing causes minor impacts to springs and seeps due to erosion and sedimentation and 
water quality, (i.e. fecal coliform). Unauthorized off-road vehicle use also causes erosion and 
sedimentation that effect spring areas. Individual domestic water wells and community water 
wells have had limited impact on groundwater quantity. Rural septic systems may impact local 
groundwater quality. 

Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - Due to the lack of groundwater monitoring at the Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tract, impacts due to past and current mining activities are difficult to analyze. The Blue 
Ribbon Mine, located in Hubbard Creek, has been abandoned and reclaimed. Surface water 
quality in Hubbard Creek has not been adversely impacted (see Section 3.5, Surface Water) 
due to the historic Blue Ribbon Mine operations. As a result, it is not believed that groundwater 
quality has been impacted. A field survey of the site did not show any mining related impacts to 
the Hubbard Creek drainage. Mine discharge from the abandoned Oliver Mine (SP-8) and the 
Hawks Nest Mine (SP-1 1) is fair to good quality with somewhat elevated levels of TDS, iron, 
and manganese. These mines are located east of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. See Figure 
3, Historic Coal mines and Federal Coal Lease Locations. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-104 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

The active Sanborn Creek Mine has been storing discharge mine water in sumps in the B and 
C coal seams since 1992. The B and C seams were dry during active mining. Water quality 
data indicates that the stored mine water meets NPDES effluent limitations with minor treatment 
to reduce TDS concentrations (Oxbow, 1996). There may be some seepage from the storage 
sumps down dip in the coal horizon or to adjacent bedrock units; however the quality of the 
seepage is fair to good, and seepage rates are likely very small. The West Elk Mine, located 
south of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, operates under an NPDES discharge permit with strict 
effluent quality standards. There are no known impacts to groundwater quality due to these 
operations. 

3.6.2.6 Groundwater Use 

Water rights and well records from the Colorado Division of Water Resources were reviewed for 
the area of the proposed coal lease tracts, exploration license area, and areas extending about 
1 mile outside of these boundaries. Sites located within or west of Hubbard Creek were 
considered in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration License area. Those east of 
Hubbard Creek are considered in the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract area. A summary of the 
groundwater rights and wells is presented in Table 3.5-3, Water Rights Summary for Wells, 
Springs and Surface Water, (see Section 3.5, Surface Water Hydrology). Locations of the 
water rights are shown on Figure 18, Water Rights. 

Iron Point Exploration License Area and Coal Lease Tract - There are five adjudicated 
water rights associated with springs in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and Exploration License 
area. Four adjudicated water rights are on private surface (J&M Spring and Pipeline 1- 4) and 
one is on BLM surface (J&B Spring and Pipeline 5). These sites are used for stock watering 
purposes. 

Six adjudicated water rights associated with wells are located in or around the Iron Point Coal 
Lease Tract and exploration license area. All but the Blue Ribbon well are located along the 
North Fork of the Gunnison River and are apparently installed in saturated alluvium. The Blue 
Ribbon well is located in Hubbard Creek adjacent to the historic Blue Ribbon Mine. This well is 
installed in the alluvium of Hubbard Creek and has not been in use since the Blue Ribbon Mine 
was closed. 

The King Clay well is located on the West Fork Terror Creek. This shallow well is installed in 
the alluvium along West Fork Terror Creek and is for domestic use. The Peggy Seabloom well 
is located on the East Fork Terror Creek, about a mile west of Terror Creek Reservoir. This 
shallow well is installed in the alluvium along East Fork Terror Creek and is for domestic use. 

Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - There are no adjudicated water rights associated with springs in 
the Elk Creek Lease Tract area. 

Two adjudicated water rights associated with wells are located near the Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tract (Bear No. 1 and Somerset Mine wells). These wells are located along the North Fork of 
the Gunnison River and are apparently installed in saturated alluvium. All other active 
registered wells without water rights are used only for monitoring. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-105 

3.6.3 Environmental Consequences 

3.6.3.1 Summary 

Coal mine development in the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts and exploration 
activities on the Iron Point Exploration License area could potentially result in some impacts to 
area groundwater resources. 

Longwall mining causes bedrock fracturing and land subsidence above longwall panels. By 
potentially providing pathways for groundwater to move downward toward the mined horizon, 
fracturing and subsidence may divert water from saturated horizons and surface water bodies 
above and adjacent to caved areas. Impacts to groundwater systems may potentially result in 
the decrease in natural discharge rates from springs and seeps or change water levels and 
yields in area wells. Some effects could be as follows: 

► Mining would dewater the coal horizon and water-saturated horizons immediately 
above and below the coal horizon. 

► Degradation of water quality when groundwater flows through active or abandoned 
mine workings. 

► Transbasin diversion of groundwater resulting from dewatering of the coal seam. 

► Water rights could be affected if area spring flows and associated pond levels and 
well water levels are diminished. 

► Increased sedimentation of area springs from construction and use of surface 
facilities (exploration drill pads and associated access roads). 

► Accidental fuel or solvent spills could impact shalllow groundwater locally. 

The criteria for significant impacts refer to adverse impacts to the quality or quantity of 
groundwater utilized for important uses, such as domestic water supply, livestock watering, 
springs that recharge wetland/riparian areas or support wildlife habitat, and natural resource 
values. 

It is important to note that subsidence induced impacts to groundwater resources were 
calculated from the reasonably foreseeable development scenarios and generalized overburden 
strata characteristics for the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. It was also assumed 
that coal would be extracted to the limits of the lease tract boundaries using longwall mining. 
Actual mining plans could be different. 

Exploration activities should not noticeably impact groundwater resources. The strata are not 
uniformly saturated, so there is little concern for inter-aquifer communication. The drill holes 
would be small diameter and would have little disturbance to the strata. 

3.6.3.2 Effects off Alternative A (No-Action) 

Direct Effects - Under this alternative, the coal lease tracts would not be offered for lease, and 
mine development would not occur. As a result, there would be no mining related impacts to 
groundwater resources in the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts or from exploration 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-106 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

activities in the Iron Point exploration license area. Existing impacts to groundwater from past 
and current land uses would continue. 

The Bowie No. 2 Mine and Sanborn Creek Mine would continue to operate under their current 
permits. The Bowie No. 2 Mine would develop north and east to the proposed Iron Point Coal 
Lease Tract boundary. As a result of this development, there is potential for subsidence related 
impacts to groundwater resources. Several seasonal springs in this area could be impacted, 
including S-8 and S-13 (see Figure 14, Subsidence Potential Map). The Bowie No. 2 Mine is 
expected to be dry, and no impacts to groundwater resources from dewatering are expected. 

Oxbow would develop the Elk Creek Mine on fee (private) coal reserves. As a result of this 
development, there would be the potential for subsidence and dewatering related impacts to 
groundwater resources. The subsidence impact evaluation completed for this document 
indicates potential impacts to groundwater resources near the D seam outcrops in Bear and Elk 
creeks. Several seasonal springs in this area could be impacted including Elk No. 1 (see Figure 
14, Subsidence Potential Map). Dewatering would temporarily disrupt local groundwater 
recharge and discharge. Some of this groundwater may be considered a transbasinal diversion 
where groundwater is diverted from its natural drainage pattern to the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River. 

After mining, the mine voids would fill with groundwater to about pre-mining levels. The 
groundwater would be exposed to collapsed and abandoned mine workings, and the quality of 
the water may be impacted. The most likely impact would be an increased concentration of 
TDS, iron, manganese, and possibly sulfate. The groundwater flow direction in the D seam 
horizon is to the northeast, beneath Grand Mesa. There are no known wells or springs down- 
gradient of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract that would be affected by any possible groundwater 
degradation. 

3.6.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 

Various mine induced subsidence parameters were analyzed for the Iron Point and Elk Creek 
Coal Lease Tract areas. These include: 

► Maximum vertical displacement 

► Tilt 

► Horizontal strain 

- Angle of draw 

- Break angle 

Subsidence induced impacts to groundwater resources are primarily related to the break angle. 
The break angle defines the zone of maximum tensile strain above a mining panel. Most 
subsidence induced cracks in the overburden and at the surface occur in the zone of maximum 
tensile strain. Subsidence induced impacts to groundwater resources are rated as very low to 
low, low to moderate, moderate to high, and high to very high. In general, subsidence impacts 
are considered high with overburden thickness less than 500 feet, moderate with overburden 
between 500 and 1 ,000 feet thick, moderate to low with overburden between 1 ,000 and 1 ,500 
feet thick, and low to very low with thickness above 1 ,500 feet. Figure 14, Subsidence Potential 
Map, illustrates the potential zones of mining induced subsidence impacts to water resources. 
Two areas of high to moderate impacts have been identified for the Hubbard Creek and Terror 
Creek drainages. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 p age 3-107 

Direct Effects - Iron Point Exploration License Area and Coal Lease Tract - Under 
Alternatives B, C, and D, the Iron Point Exploration License area would be granted and the Iron 
Point Coal Lease Tract would be offered for competitive leasing. 

Completion of the exploration drilling program is not expected to cause impacts to groundwater 
resources. 

Longwall mining development of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract would induce subsidence of 
the overlying ground surface. The extent, severity, and potential impact to water resources due 
to subsidence is dependent on the thickness, composition, and geotechnical properties of the 
overburden, thickness of the mined coal, and mining plans. Mining would also result in 
dewatering of saturated zones of the mined horizon. Mined areas would likely refill with water 
to approximate pre-mining levels after mining operations cease which could impact 
groundwater quality. 

Subsidence could potentially disrupt or alter springs, seeps, ponds, and change local 
groundwater levels directly above the underground mine and within the angle of draw. The only 
areas within the coal lease tract with a high to moderate potential for impacts are Hubbard 
Creek and Terror Creek. See Figure 14, Subsidence Potential Map. 

The D coal seam outcrop in the Hubbard Creek drainage is saturated. Seeps and springs from 
the outcrop create a marsh in the valley floor near the historic (now abandoned) Blue Ribbon 
Mine. Mining of the D coal seam would dewater this zone and may temporarily dry the strata, 
springs, and seeps. 

After mining, the eastern section of the mine would fill with groundwater to about pre-mining 
levels. The groundwater would be exposed to collapsed and abandoned mine workings, and 
the quality of the water may be impacted. The most likely impact would be an increased 
concentration of TDS, iron, manganese, and possibly sulfate. This would impact the water 
quality of the springs and seeps issuing from the D coal seam outcrop. 

No groundwater rights are located in the areas of potential impacts. However, water rights 
associated with seeps and springs are considered surface water rights, and are discussed in 
Section 3.5, Surface Water Hydrology. 

Direct Effects - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - Small areas in the southern portion of the Elk 
Creek Coal Lease Tract along the east side of Hubbard Creek and in Bear Creek have a high to 
moderate potential for subsidence induced impacts to water resources {Figure 14, Subsidence 
Potential Map). Most of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract has overburden thickness between 
1 ,500 and 2,500 feet with low to very low potential for impacts. 

It is believed that the D coal seam is saturated throughout most of the Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tract. Mining would require dewatering of this zone. Mine water would likely be stored in 
sumps located in abandoned mine workings, treated if necessary, and discharged to the North 
Fork of the Gunnison River at a permitted outfall site. Mine discharge water quality would have 
to meet permitted effluent requirements. Mine dewatering and discharge may represent a 
transbasinal diversion of groundwater since the discharge point for the D coal seam 
groundwater is northeast of the North Fork of the Gunnison River drainage area. The 
estimated mine water discharge volume has not been determined. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-108 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

After mining, the mine voids would fill with groundwater to about pre-mining levels. The 
groundwater would be exposed to collapsed and abandoned mine workings, and the quality of 
the water may be impacted. The most likely impact would be an increased concentration of 
TDS, iron, manganese, and possibly sulfate. The groundwater flow direction in the D coal 
seam horizon is to the northeast, beneath Grand Mesa. There are no known wells or springs 
down-gradient of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract that would be affected by any possible 
groundwater degradation. 

Petroleum, oils, and lubricants are regularly used in mining operations. These materials may 
degrade discharge water quality if they are mishandled or abandoned underground and 
exposed to water passing through the mine. Any toxic or hazardous materials which are used 
underground should be removed from the mine prior to closure. It is assumed for this analysis 
that mining equipment would also not be abandoned underground. 

No groundwater rights are located in the areas of potential impacts. However, water rights 
associated with seeps and springs are considered surface water rights, and are discussed in 
Section 3.5, Surface Water Hydrology. 

Indirect Effects - The potential for indirect groundwater impacts in the study area is expected 
to be minimal. If mine employees choose to live in rural areas, private domestic wells would be 
drilled and septic systems would be installed. Appropriate state and county regulations would 
have to be followed, minimizing impacts to groundwater quantity and quality. 

Methane release from coal mines would not be expected to impact domestic water wells, 
particularly in Garvin Mesa because the wells are below the coal seams to be mined. In the 
Garvin Mesa area, the coal has eroded away and does not have any contact with water below 
the outcrop of the Rollins Sandstone. The Rollins Sandstone is approximately 120 feet above 
Garvin Mesa. 

Cumulative Effects - Mining at the Sanborn Creek and West Elk mines is currently dewatering 
coal bearing zones in the Mesa Verde Formation. Mining in the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tracts would continue to dewater the D coal seam zone of the Mesa Verde Formation. 
There may be a cumulative impact on water quality in the coal bearing zones of the Mesa 
Verde Formation. After mining ceases, mine voids would partially or completely fill with water 
and groundwater quality may be adversely impacted. This would add to water quality impacts 
from historic mines and when active mines are abandoned. It should be noted that the historic 
Hawks Nest and Oliver mines have had minimal impact to groundwater quality with elevated 
concentrations of TDS, iron, and manganese (Oxbow, 1999). 

3.6.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 

Completion of the exploration drilling program is not expected to cause impacts to groundwater 
resources. 

Longwall- mining development in the D coal seam of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract would 
induce subsidence of the overlying ground surface and temporarily dewater the strata adjacent 
to the D coal seam. After mining, the D coal seam zone would likely flood to approximate pre- 
mining levels which could impact groundwater quality. 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-109 

The southeast corner of the lease tract in the Hubbard Creek drainage is located in an area of 
high potential subsidence impacts with overburden thickness less than 500 feet. Nine seasonal 
springs are located in this area (S2-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and S34-20, 21 , and 24) and would likely 
be impacted. No perennial springs are located in this area. 

Portions of Terror Creek would be subsided under this alternative; however, there are no 
springs identified in the high to very high subsidence zone in Terror Creek (see Figure 14, 
Subsidence Potential Map). Given the low overburden present, subsidence fracturing could 
interrupt groundwater seepage entering the drainages from saturated colluvial and alluvial 
material in the drainage bottoms. 

Small areas in the southern portion of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract along the east side of 
Hubbard Creek and in Bear Creek have high to moderate potential for subsidence induced 
impacts to water resources. No known groundwater resources are located in these areas, and 
no impacts are anticipated. Most of the Elk Creek Tract has overburden thickness between 
1 ,000 and 2,500 feet which would have moderate to very low potential for subsidence impacts. 

Dewatering impacts and water quality impacts for Alternative B would be the same as those 
discussed in Section 3.6.5.3, Effects Common to All Action Alternatives. 

3.6.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 

Alternative C allows for multiple seam mining (B and D seams) in the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract with minor lease boundary adjustments. 

Multiple seam mining would have a cumulative effect in regards to subsidence. (See Appendix 
K, Subsidence Evaluation.) The subsidence impacts evaluation calculates that maximum 
vertical displacement would be equal to the sum of the potential displacements from mining 
individual seams. The potential subsidence impacts to groundwater resources would 
essentially be the same as described for Alternative B due the great overburden thickness 
relative to the total mined thickness. 

The expanded Iron Point Coal Lease area in Terror Creek is in a high potential subsidence area 
with overburden thickness of about 500 feet. Spring 5-2 is located in this area and could be 
impacted during mining operations. 

It is believed that the B coal seam horizon is largely unsaturated in the Iron Point Lease Tract. 
As a result, active mine dewatering would not be necessary, and there would be no associated 
impacts. Post-mine flooding of the B coal seam is not expected because this horizon is 
naturally unsaturated. No additional groundwater quantity or quality impacts are expected apart 
from those described for Alternative B. 

Direct impacts for the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract in Alternative C would be the same as 
described in Section 3.6.5.4, Effects of Alternative B. 

3.6.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 

Alternative D allows for multiple seam mining (B and D seams) in the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract but with no subsidence impacts to Terror Creek and Hubbard Creek. Although the impact 
potential to these areas is expected to be very low as addressed in Appendix K, Subsidence 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-110 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

Evaluation, extra precautions would be required to eliminate any subsidence impacts to Terror 
Creek and Hubbard Creek. Other direct impacts to groundwater resources in Alternative D 
would be less because Terror and Hubbard creeks would not be subsided. There would be no 
effects to shallow groundwater in the drainage bottoms. 

3.6.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

3.6.4.1 Iron Point Exploration License Area 

The Iron Point exploration activities are not expected to have any impact on groundwater 
resources. As a result, only site-specific monitoring measures would be required. A spring and 
seep inventory would be conducted in any corridors of the exploration area that would have 
new roads and drill pads. Field water quality and flow would be measured at any identified 
spring. Access roads and drill pads sites should be located to avoid spring and seep areas. 
See Appendix I, Forest Service Stipulations - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract, and Appendix J, 
Forest Service Stipulations - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. After the exploration activities are 
completed, the spring sites should be revisited and any changes should be recorded. 

3.6.4.2 Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 

Mining the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract would likely result in some subsidence induced impacts 
to groundwater resources. The Hubbard Creek drainage area has a high potential to be 
impacted. This includes the possible drying or flow change in springs and seeps in the main 
drainage and nearby tributary drainages. All of these springs are seasonal and typically flow 
during the spring and early summer months. The impacts to these sites would likely be 
temporary and after mining the normal spring flow would resume. In some cases, springs may 
issue from adjacent strata up or down hill from the original location. Because these springs are 
ephemeral, a temporary change in flow characteristics is not considered a significant impact, 
and no special mitigation measures would be necessary. 

Dewatering of the D coal seam during mining would impact groundwater flow and discharge in 
the Hubbard Creek drainage. This impact would be temporary and the coal horizon would 
recharge after mine dewatering ceases. At this time, no mitigation is anticipated for this impact. 
However, if mitigation is deemed necessary to supplement wetland or stream recharge, the 
mining company may be able to pump water from the Blue Ribbon well and pipe water to 
affected areas or rechannel water from Hubbard Creek. 

After mining is completed, the dewatered coal horizon would recharge with groundwater. The 
mine groundwater quality may be impacted resulting in elevated TDS and dissolved 
constituents. If necessary, discharge of this water from springs in Hubbard Creek could be 
treated to meet appropriate water quality standards. Currently, mine water treatment at the 
Sanborn Creek Mine requires only settling of the TSS levels before discharge. 

A monitoring network to include several monitoring wells installed in the D coal seam and 
adjacent strata and alluvium would be needed. These wells should be located on the west side 
of Hubbard Creek across from the Blue Ribbon Mine. These wells would monitor the baseline 
groundwater levels and water quality in this zone prior to mining, monitor the potential effects of 
mine dewatering during mining, recharge after mining, and water quality changes. More 
consistent baseline data should be developed with year-round monitoring. It is also 
recommended that further hydrologic analysis be completed on Hubbard Creek to determine 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-111 

the interrelationship of ground and surface water and assess the potential for impacts due to 
mine dewatering. This would be expected to occur as part of the mine permit process with the 
Colorado DMG and OSM. 

3.6.4.3 Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 

No impacts to springs or wells are expected as a result of mining the Elk Creek Lease Tract; 
therefore, no mitigation measures are listed here. 

In the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, mine dewatering and discharge may represent a 
transbasinal diversion of groundwater since the discharge point for the D coal seam 
groundwater is northeast of the North Fork of the Gunnison River drainage area. Since this 
water-bearing zone does not support active surface discharge in the area, no significant 
impacts are expected, and no mitigation actions are anticipated. 

After mining is completed, the dewatered coal horizon would recharge. The mine groundwater 
quality may be impacted resulting in elevated TDS and dissolved constituents. The 
groundwater quality impact would be limited in extent and naturally mitigated by dilution. 

There is no monitoring network established in the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. If this tract is 
leased, the successful mining company would be required to conduct a spring and seep survey 
and establish a baseline monitoring program. Data should be collected periodically year-round 
(monthly or quarterly). The monitoring network should include springs and monitoring wells. 
Wells would be needed in the D coal seam, and adjacent strata east of Hubbard Creek, in Bear 
Creek, and on the east side of the lease tract in Elk Creek. In addition, several alluvial wells 
should be installed in Hubbard, Bear, and Elk creeks. It is anticipated that such additional 
hydrologic review would be part of the mine permit process with the Colorado DMG and OSM. 

3.7 VEGETATION 

Issue: Address the impacts to vegetation as a result of mining and exploration activity. Areas 
of concern include: the potential effects on threatened, endangered, or sensitive plants; control 
of noxious weeds; and, the impacts on vegetation as a result of any subsidence. 

3.7.1 Introduction 

Existing Forest Service vegetation mapping and associated resource information was used as a 
foundation upon which to complete this vegetation baseline discussion. Project areas not 
covered by the existing mapping, including a small portion of Forest Service and BLM 
administered lands, along with privately-held property, were mapped at the reconnaissance 
level by the EIS team to complete vegetation survey coverage for this project. The vegetation 
communities used for the original Forest Service mapping were retained for this effort. 
Discussions presented herein of the vegetation communities were developed as a result of the 
general data gathered during the reconnaissance survey, the soil survey completed for the area 
(Cryer and Hughes, 1997). Additional data sources are cited below. 

The potential presence of Forest Service and BLM listed sensitive species (BLM State 
Director's Office, 1999; GMUG 1999) were evaluated in light of species 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-112 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

elevational and habitat requirements assembled by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program 
(Johnson, 1999; Spackman etal., 1997). 

3.7.2 Affected Environment 

3.7.2.1 Upland Plant Communities 

Eight upland vegetation types were mapped at the reconnaissance level within the project area. 
See Figure 21, Vegetation Map. These types range from tree-dominated communities to those 
dominated by grass and forb species. A "Bare" designation was also included. 

The Oak Vegetation Community is essentially ubiquitous across the project area occurring on 
ridge slopes, along ephemeral drainages, and over level to moderately rolling mountain 
meadows. Near pure stands of Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) dominate drier ridge slopes. 
Where the community occurs in larger meadows and along drainages, it is more of a mixed 
shrub community composed of a wide variety of shrub species. This is a reflection of more 
mesic site conditions and wetter soil moisture regimes. The dominant shrub species is Gambel 
oak. Other shrubs which can be co- or sub-dominant depending upon growing conditions 
include snowberry {Symphoricarpos oreophilus or S. rotundifolius) and serviceberry 
(Amelanchier alnifolia). Herbaceous species such as lupine (Lupinus argenteus), white- 
flowered peavine (Lathyrus ieucanthus), and various upland sedge {Carex) species are 
common in the understory (Johnston, 1997). Chokecherry {Prunus virginiana) is also a 
common community component while small, sub-dominant aspen (Populus tremuloides) stands 
may become established in wetter areas where this community borders the aspen community. 

Occurring across the project area over a variety of elevations and aspects is the Aspen 
Vegetation Type. This type inhabits less steep slopes overall than the other tree-dominated 
vegetation types on site, though its presence on somewhat steeper slopes under the proper soil 
conditions is not uncommon. It intergrades with most of the other vegetation types on site, 
excepting the Pinyon/Juniper, and characteristically has a more open, highly productive 
understory. The dominant tree species is aspen. Common understory species include Woods 
rose {Rosa woodsii), mountain brome {Bromus marginatus) , elk sedge {Carex geyeri) , white- 
flowered peavine, Fendler meadow-rue (Thalictrum fendleri), and American vetch {Vicia 
americana) (Johnston, 1997). Wetter expressions of this type, in depressions or adjacent to 
seeps and springs, often form transition wetland vegetation communities. 

The Pinyon/Juniper Vegetation Community occurs on steep west- and southwest-facing slopes 
at elevations typically below 7,000 feet. Dominant species include Utah juniper {Juniperus 
osteosperma) and Rocky Mountain juniper {Juniperus scopulorum) in the tree stratum. Pinyon 
pine {Pinus edulus) is also present. Dominant understory species include Gambel oak, 
mountain snowberry, Indian ricegrass {Oryzopsis hymenoides), and annual grasses (Western 
Resource Development Corporation, 1982). Rock outcrops are a major component of this unit. 
The soils are typically shallow and droughty compared to the soils supporting the other tree- 
dominated vegetation communities. 

Steep to very steep canyon walls along Hubbard Creek and its tributaries support the 
Spruce/Fir Vegetation Community. Elevations nominally range from 6,800 to 8,000+ feet. This 
community tends to be comparatively dense and supported by soils reflecting more mesic 
conditions. Dominant tree species include Englemann spruce {Picea engelmannii), Colorado 
blue spruce {Picea pungens), and subalpine fir {Abies lasiocarpa) at higher elevations. 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-113 

Dominant understory species include bearberry {Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and a variety of other 
shrubs and herbaceous species common to the Oak Vegetation Community, but at lower 
densities. As with other vegetation communities dominating drainages, a comparatively narrow 
riparian zone including a small channel and associated wetland fringe is typically present. 
Rubble land is also common within this vegetation community. 

The Douglas-fir Vegetation Community is found along the Terror, Hubbard, and Bear creek 
drainages at elevations around 7,000 feet or less where the narrow canyon drainages and rapid 
runoff potentials preclude the establishment of the Cottonwood Vegetation Community 
discussed below. This community may also be found growing on north-facing ridge slopes 
primarily bordering Bear Creek. The dominant tree species is Douglas-fir {Pseudotsuga 
menzesii). Common understory species include serviceberry, snowberry, oregon-grape 
(Mahonia repens), and heart-leaf arnica (Arnica cordifoiia). This community can occasionally 
form broad transition zones, or ecotones, with the Spruce/Fir and Aspen communities resulting 
in more mixed vegetation types. The riparian areas common to the drainages of this 
community are similar to those of the Spruce/Fir type discussed above. 

The Cottonwood Vegetation Community is limited to the south-central portions of Hubbard 
Creek at elevations below approximately 7,000 feet. Slopes are typically nearly level to level 
reflecting an overall wetter soil moisture regime as compared to the Douglas-fir and Spruce/Fir 
vegetation communities located adjacent to drainages. Common tree species include narrow- 
leaf cottonwood (Populus angustifolia) and box-elder {Acer negundo) with Douglas-fir, 
Englemann spruce, and juniper species occurring on side-slopes under drier soil moisture 
conditions. Aspen may also be present in topographic depressions or in deeper, more fertile 
soils. Understory shrub species include those adapted to more moist substrates such as 
chokecherry, raspberry (Rubus idaeus), and Woods rose. As a consequence of more level 
topography and decreased runoff potentials, the wetlands and Waters of the U.S. associated 
with this vegetation community are broader and more well developed as compared to drainages 
in other vegetation communities. 

Scattered across the project area, the Grass/Forb Vegetation Community is associated 
primarily with nearly level to moderately sloping sites on a variety of aspects. Similarly, 
elevations vary. This community occurs as small natural clearings within other vegetation 
types, revegetated development disturbances, and heavily grazed meadows often associated 
with developed stockponds. Dominant vegetation includes a variety of native and introduced 
herbaceous species depending upon the origin of each delineation. Native species present 
include wheatgrasses (Agropyron sp.), bluegrasses (Poa sp.), needlegrasses {Stipa sp.), and a 
variety of penstemons {Penstemon sp.), as well as rushes {Juncus sp.) and spikerushes 
{Eleocharis sp.) bordering stock pond margins. Introduced species present, depending upon 
the disturbed site, include smooth brome {Bromus inermis), crested wheatgrass (Agropyron 
desertorum), Kentucky biuegrass (Poa pratensis) , and alfalfa (Medicago sativa) along with a 
number of introduced weedy species at varying densities (Hayes Environmental Services, Inc., 
1995). 

The "Bare" cover designation includes rock slides, steep-walled cliffs, and other areas which 
support little or no vegetation due to the surface expression of geologic material. Bare areas 
are also associated with the boundaries of the Terror Creek Reservoir. These areas total a 
comparatively small acreage. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-114 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.7.2.2 Noxious Weeds 

A number of noxious weed species are known to be of concern with respect to the project area 
in Delta and Gunnison counties. These species include, but are not limited to, Russian 
knapweed (Centaurea repens), hoary cress (Cardaria draba), yellow toadflax {Linaria vulgaris), 
Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), musk thistle (Carduus nutans), and scotch thistle 
{Onopordum acanthium) (Calicut, 1999; Green, 1999). Typically, these species are aggressive 
and highly competitive with more desirable species. Species such as scotch and musk thistle, 
along with Russian knapweed, form dense colonies which may be difficult to eradicate. 

Noxious weeds are prone to establishment on newly disturbed sites; county regulations require 
that these species must be controlled where they become newly established. 

3.7.2.3 Threatened and Endangered Plant Species 

One federally listed threatened and one endangered plant species occur in the region within 
which the project area is located. The Uinta Basin hookless cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus), a 
threatened species, occurs at elevations ranging from 4,500 to 6,000 feet on rocky hills, mesa 
slopes, alluvial benches, and in desert shrub communities. Listed as an endangered species, 
clay-loving wild buckwheat (Eriogonum pelinophiium) inhabits Mancos shale badlands in salt 
desert shrub communities at elevations ranging from 5,200-6,400 feet. Both have been found 
previously in Delta County. As was noted for the environmental assessments prepared 
previously for the lease tracts, no suitable habitat for these species occurs on either proposed 
lease area, or the exploration license area. Further, the elevation ranges within which these 
species are known to occur are, for the most part, below the lowest elevation found on the 
project area. These species would not be affected by the proposed leasing, mining, or 
exploration actions. 

3.7.2.4 Sensitive Plant Species 

Nine "forest sensitive" species are listed as potentially occurring on the GMUG, and Gunnison 
National Forests (GMUG, 1999). An additional 11 sensitive species are listed as potentially 
present on BLM lands administered by the BLM Uncompahgre Field Office (Colorado BLM 
State Director's Office, 1 999). Table 3. 7. 1, Sensitive Plant Species Summary, presents a 
combined list of these species along with selected information concerning these species' habitat 
requirements, elevational ranges, and known presence in Delta and Gunnison counties 
(Ferguson, 1999; Johnson, 1999; LaFevere. 1999; Spackman etal., 1997). 

The proposed project area ranges in elevation from 6,400 feet to approximately 8,500 feet. Six 
of the 20 listed species are adapted to habitat types occurring at elevations ranging from 8,500 
to 14,000 feet, above the highest elevation of the proposed project area. In several cases, 
these species also occur in alpine habitat types such as peat mats, acidic ponds, fens, and 
alpine scree which are comparatively unique to higher elevations. The species in this category 
include molybdenum milkvetch (Astragalus molybdenus), smooth rockress (Braya glabella), 
round-leaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) , wooly fleabane (Erigeron lanatus), white-bristle 
cotton-grass (Euphorum altaicum), and Colorado tansy-aster (Machaeranthera coloradoensis). 
Sandstone milkvetch (A sesquiflorus), Dolores skeletonplant (Lygodesmia doloresensis), 
Eastwood monkey-flower (Mimulus eastwoodiae) , and Paradox breadroot (Pediomelum 
aromaticum) are all known to occur at elevations lower than that of the project area and in 
habitats not present on the proposed lease tracts or exploration license areas. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



3£ 
O 

I 

© 

6) 



3 

5- 

3' 

3 
a 

i 

o 

GO 

3- 
3 

<d 
3 



Table 3.7-1 
Sensitive Plant Species Summary 


Species Name 


Agency 
Listing 


Code 1 


Elevation 
Range 
(feet) 


Habitat 
Characteristics 


Known in 

Delta/Gunnison 

Counties 


Potentially 

Present in 

Project Area 


Gunnison milkvetch 
Asragalus anisus 


USFS 


FS 


7,500-8,500 


Dry or sandy clay soils, 
under low sagebrush 


No/Yes 


No 


Grand Junction milkvetch 
A. linifolius 


BLM 


SS 


4,800-6,200 


Chinle and Morrison 
geologic formations 


Yes/No 


No 


Molybdenum milkvetch 
A. molybdenus 


USFS 


FS 


11,400-13,200 


Rocky slopes, 
turf hillsides 


No/Yes 


No 


Naturita milkvetch 
A. naturitensis 


BLM 


SS 


5,000-7,000 


Sandstone mesas in 
pinyon-juniper woods 


No/No 


No 


San Rafael milkvetch 
A. rafaelensis 


BLM 


SS 


4,400-6,500 


Hills, washes, talus; in 
seleniferous soils 


No/No 


No 


Sandstone milkvetch 
A. sesquiflorus 


BLM 


SS 


5,000-55,00 


Sandstone ledges, talus 
and sandy washes 


No/No 


No 


Smooth rockress 
Bray glabella 


USFS 


FS 


12,000-13,000 


Calcareous substrates 
above timberline 


No/Yes 


No 


Rocky Mountain thistle 
Cirsium perplexans 


BLM 


SS 


4,500-7,000 


Barren gray shale; 
adobe hills 


Yes/No 


No 


Round-leaf sundew 
Drosera rotundifolia 


USFS 


FS 


9,100-9,800 


Peat mats, acidic ponds 
and fens 


No/Yes 


No 


Wooly fleabane 
Erigeron lanatus 


FS 


FS 


12,500-13,500 


Steep alpine scree, 
talus slopes 


No/Yes 


No 


White-bristle cotton grass 
Eriophorum altaicum 


USFS 


FS 


9,500-14,000 


Fens 


No/Yes 


No 


Beard-tongue gila 
Gilia penstemonoides 


USFS 


FS 


6,800-9,000 


Walls, ledges, cliffs in 
gneiss, schist, shale 


No/Yes 


No 



o 

I 

3" 
o 

o 



8) 

s. 

3 

a 

3 

CD 

at 
I 

a> 
o 

<=* 

s- 

<D 

3 
a 



Table 3.7-1 
Sensitive Plant Species Summary 


Species Name 


Agency 
Listing 


Code 1 


Elevation 
Range 
(feet) 


Habitat 
Characteristics 


Known in 

Delta/Gunnison 

Counties 


Potentially 

Present in 

Project Area 


Montrose bladderpod 
Lesquerella vicina 


BLM 


SS 


6,000-7,200 


Mancos shale, also 
sandstone soils, 
sagebrush step; 
distrubances 


No/No 


No 


Colorado desert parsley 
Lomatium cocinnum 


BLM 


ss 


5,500-7,000 


Rocky soils from Mancos 
shale; shrub communities 


Yes/No 


No 


Paradox Valley lupine 
Lupinus crassus 


BLM 


ss 


5,000-5,800 


Chinle and Mancos 
geologic formations; 
sparse vegetation 


No/No 


No 


Dolores skeleton plant 
Lygodesmia doloresensis 


BLM 


ss 


4,400-4,700 


Red alluvial soil in 
juniper grassland 


No/No 


No 


Colorado tansy-aster 
Machaeranthera coloradoensis 


USFS 


FS 


8,500-12,500 


Gravelly parks, slopes, 
rock outcrops up to dry 
tundra 


No/Yes 


No 


Eastwood monkey-flower 
Mimulus eastwoodiae 


BLM 


SS 


4,700-5,800 


Shallow caves and seeps 
on canyon walls 


Yes/No 


No 


Paradox breadroot 
Pediomelum aromaticum 


BLM 


SS 


4,000-5,000 


Red clay, clay outcrops, 
rocky soil, rock outcrops 


No/No 


No 


Hapman's coolwort 
Sullivantia hapemanii 


USFS 


FS 


7,000-10,000 


Hanging gardens, wet 
cliffs, boulders in 
limestone and shale 


No/Yes 


Yes 


Note: 1. FS=Forest Sensitive (U.S. Forest Service) SS=Sensitive Species (BLM) 

Adapted from: Colorado BLM State Directors Office 1999, Ferguson 1999, GMUG 1999, Johnson 1999, Spackman et al. 1997 



to 
to 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-117 

Three species, including the Grand Junction milkvetch (A linifolius), Colorado desert parsley 
{Lomatium coccinium), and the Paradox Valley lupine (Lupinus crassus) are typically supported 
by soils derived from the Mancos, Chinle, and/or the Morrison geologic formations. These 
formations do not outcrop in or overlie the project area. In addition, the milkvetch and lupine 
are typically found at elevations lower than those characteristic of the project area. The 
Gunnison milkvetch (A anisus) inhabits elevations common to the project area but is 
associated with dry or sandy clay soils underlain by granitic bedrock supporting low sagebrush 
(Artemisia arbuscula) vegetation communities. Neither surficial granitic bedrock nor low 
sagebrush is known to be present within the project area boundaries. Similarly, the lack of 
barren gray shales or adobe hills on site eliminates the concern for the Rocky Mountain thistle 
(Cirsium perplexans). 

Naturita milkvetch (A naturitensis), San Rafael milkvetch {A. rafaelensis), Montrose bladderpod 
(Lesquerella vicina), and Beard-tongue gilia (Gilia penstemonoides) occur at elevations and in 
habitats similar, at least in part, to those of the project area. However, the project area is well 
out of the known ranges of these species. 

Hapman's coolwort {Sullivantia hapemanii) exhibits a preference for a habitat type which could 
be present at Hubbard Falls located in the SWA, Section 14, T12S, R91W. Therefore, this 
species could be present in the northern-most portion of the project area. 

3.7.2.5 Forest Resources 

That portion of the forest within which the project area lies has not been subject to intensive 
logging or forest management practices. A small number of aspen sales have occurred in the 
past. No timber sales are scheduled for the future. Most desirable timber species occur on 
slopes too steep or are located in drainages too narrow for efficient logging to occur. Typically, 
slopes over 40 percent are not subject to commercial logging (Jones, 1999). 

3.7.2.6 Range Resources 

All or portions of seven federal grazing allotments occur within the lease tracts and exploration 
area. Table 3.7-2, Summary of Forest Service and BLM Grazing Allotments, depicts selected 
information related to these allotments. Stock for which these allotments are set aside include 
both cattle and sheep. Season of use typically ranges from late June to late September/early 
October on Forest Service managed land. Season of use on BLM managed land is more 
variable typically ranging from early spring to late spring through late fall (Jones, 1999). 

3.7.3 Environmental Consequences 

3.7.3.1 Summary 

The construction of various borehole, shaft, and access road facilities would directly affect a 
maximum of approximately 33.5 acres of vegetation. The primary vegetation communities to 
be affected include the Oak and Aspen Vegetation types. The resulting loss of both timber and 
grazing resources is minimal, with the potential for a slight long-term increase in grazing 
potential possible following revegetation activities. No threatened or endangered plant species 
occur on site given these species' habitat requirements. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-118 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.7-2 
Summary of Forest Service and BLM Grazing Allotments 


Name 


Agency 
Listing 


Number 


Dates of 
Use 


Stock 
Type 


Animal Unit 
Months (AUMs) 

or 
Ewe/Lamb Pairs 


Coal Gulch 


BLM 


14517 


5/15-7/1 


Sheep 


587 AUMs 


Hubbard Creek 


BLM 


14516 


5/10-6/10 


Sheep 


45 AUMs 


Stevens Gulch Common 


BLM 


14513 


10/1-5 
6/1-25 


Cattle 


73 AUMs 


Upper Terror Creek 


BLM 


14514 


6/1-9/30 


Cattle 


59 AUMs 


Caudemit Park S&G 


USFS 


NA 


6/20-9/20 


Sheep 


1 ,000 ewe/lamb pairs 


East Terror C&H 


USFS 


NA 


6/26-10/5 


Cattle 


500 cow/calf pairs 


Hotchkiss S&G 


USFS 


NA 


6/21-9/20 


Sheep 


1 ,840 ewe/lamb pairs 



3.7.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

Vegetation communities of the project area would continue to be subject to low levels of use in 
the form of grazing and other incidental activities such as firewood harvesting. No direct or 
indirect affects associated with the reasonable foreseeable actions listed for either the coal 
lease tracts or the exploration license area are anticipated. Future impacts to vegetation would 
parallel historic impacts barring any unforeseen developments or changes in land use policies. 
Endemic vegetation communities would continue to mature at natural rates while previously 
disturbed areas would be revegetated through time. 

3.7.3.3 Direct and Indirect Effects Common to All Alternatives 

A total of 33.5 acres is proposed to be disturbed by borehole, shaft, and access road 
construction under all action alternatives. The proposed locations of the exploration boreholes 
on the exploration license area are shown on Figure 4, Iron Point Exploration Plan. Eighteen 
boreholes (4.5 acres) are located in the Oak Vegetation Community, five (1 .25 acres) in the 
Aspen Vegetation Community, two (0.5 acres) in the Grass/Forb Vegetation Community, and 
one (0.25 acres) would be located in either the Douglas-fir or Cottonwood Vegetation 
Community. The locations of the degasification boreholes (6.0 acres), exhaust shafts (3.0 
acres), ventilation shafts (1.0 acre), and access roads (17.0 acres) are not known specifically. 
For the purposes of this section, it is assumed that the vegetation communities impacted by 
construction of the latter facilities would be proportionately the same as for the exploration 
boreholes, with minor impacts to the Spruce/Fir Vegetation Community factored in. 

No timber sales are planned for the project area within the definable future. This is due, in part, 
to the characteristics of tree stands existing and the topography within which they have become 
established. Most tree stands, with the exception of aspen stands for which there is a limited 
market, are on slopes too steep (>40 percent) to log profitably. In addition, many stands occur 
in such narrow drainages, are so limited in size, and are so dispersed, that logging would be 
precluded for the same reason. However, the value of the timber resource which would be 
impacted by facility construction can be estimated, though it is highly unlikely that it would be 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 p age 3.119 

logged or the dollar value of it realized in any other way. Given standard values for aspen and 
spruce/fir stands (Jones, 1999), and assuming that the values of cottonwood and Douglas-fir 
stands are similar, the value of the forest resource lost by clearing for subsequent facility 
construction could be approximately $4,300. 

In terms of the range resources of the lease and exploration areas, the temporary clearing of 
33.5 acres equals a loss estimated to be approximately 2.0 (cow/calf pair) animal unit months 
(AUMs) out of a total exceeding 500 AUMs (Jones, 1 999). This temporary negative impact 
would be offset by a longer term positive impact following revegetation when, by reseeding the 
disturbed areas with grass species, the disturbed sites would be returned to a somewhat higher 
grazing value. Overall, however, both the positive and negative impacts are considered to be 
negligible given the comparative size of the area involved. 

Weed infestations could occur in areas disturbed by the construction of various boreholes, 
shafts, and access roads. While it is uncertain whether this would take place, it is reasonable to 
assume that the potential exists given the natural invasive tendencies of these aggressive 
species whether by natural or man-induced vectors. The scattered nature of the proposed 
disturbances across the lease area give rise to further concerns with respect to the spread of 
these species over areas larger than the initial 33.5 acres to be disturbed. The mining plans 
summarized in Chapter 2, Alternatives Including the Proposed Action, do address this issue but 
do not include the necessary development of a weed control plan to be sublimated to the 
appropriate Delta and Gunnison County agencies. Mitigation is proposed to address this 
concern. The Forest Service requires that any reseeding be completed by a certified, weed- 
free source. 

No threatened or endangered species present within the region are believed to occur within the 
project area due to these species' elevational and habitat requirements. Similarly, 19 of the 20 
species listed as sensitive and occurring within the region by either the BLM or the Forest 
Service are believed to be absent from the project area for these same reasons. The presence 
or absence of Hapman's coolwort at Hubbard Falls should be documented in light of the 
potential effects from subsidence. Mitigation is proposed to address the question of whether 
this species exists on site and what future mitigation actions might be appropriate if it does. 

3.7.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 

Direct impacts to the vegetation resource are generally consistent across all alternatives. There 
is a potential to impact Hapman's coolwort at Hubbard Falls if subsidence occurs in this area. 
As noted in Section 3.4, Soils, the effect of subsidence would manifest itself as cracks forming 
on the earth's surface followed by a settling of the ground elevation as the geologic strata cave, 
at depth, behind the retreating longwall operation. Some cracks, devoid of vegetation, would 
remain on the surface at the conclusion of mining. The vegetation acreage which would be 
affected by cracking cannot be calculated but would likely be minimal considering the potential 
acreage involved and the natural ability of these cracks to revegetate. It is unlikely that a 
measurable acreage of vegetation would be lost given these considerations. 

3.7.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 

The affects of subsidence under this alternative would be the same as Alternative B except that 
adoption of multi-seam mining activities would increase lease acreage involved. With multi- 
seam mining, the depth to which geologic strata cave behind the advancing mining operation is 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-120 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

greater. Given that the lease area under Alternative C is approximately 10 percent greater than 
under Alternative B, a comparatively larger acreage could be subject to the effects of 
subsidence. 

3.7.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 

Alternative D is identical to Alternative C except that subsidence would not be permitted under 
specific features such as Terror Creek, Hubbard Creek, the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV electric 
transmission line, or the Terror Creek Reservoir. As a result, the affects on the vegetation 
communities extent would be the same only over a slightly smaller lease area. The affects of 
subsidence would still be greater under this alternative as compared to Alternative B. 

Hapman's coolwort could be present at Hubbard Falls. Given the restrictions of mining within 
and beneath perennial streams on site, it is unlikely that this species or its habitat, if present, 
would be subject to any direct effects from underground mining. 

3.7.4 Cumulative Impacts 

Approximately 33.5 acres of vegetation may be affected by surface disturbances on the lease 
and exploration areas. Seventy acres of previous disturbances are associated with the existing 
Bowie No. 2 Mine and approximately 95 acres have been disturbed at the Sanborn Creek Mine. 
Approximately 10 to15 acres and 15 acres of additional disturbances are planned at these two 
mining operations, respectively. It is also estimated that about 150 acres have been disturbed 
by operations at the West Elk Mine to the south. The acreage of vegetation proposed to be 
directly affected within the cumulative affects area, by any alternative under consideration, 
represents an increase in disturbed area of approximately 1 percent. With respect to the total 
acreage of the project area, the proposed disturbances equal less than 1 percent of the total 
acres involved. The acreage affected by subsidence would not increase these totals 
measurably. 

3.7.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

Develop a weed control plan, addressing Delta and Gunnison County requirements, which 
would be employed to control the establishment and spread of identified noxious weeds. The 
plan should include the control of weeds during and following the cessation of mining operations 
and include such measures specifying the use of certified weed free seed and mulch products. 

This stipulation would be effective, if followed during operations, in reducing the potential for weed 
invasions over the lease and exploration areas. 

Conduct a survey of Hubbard Falls during June-July of 2000 to determine if Hapman's coolwort 
is present at this site. If present, develop a monitoring plan and, if necessary, a mitigation plan 
acceptable to the Forest Service for avoiding impacts to this species. This measure would be 
highly effective in achieving the stated goal of the measure and in increasing the potential for 
protecting this species if it exists on site. 

3.8 WETLANDS 

Issue: Identify and minimize impacts to wetlands and Waters of the U.S. Areas of concern 
include: the acres of wetlands lost through direct impact; the changes in functions of values and 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 p age 3-121 

wetlands and riparian areas as a result of mining and exploration activities; and, the potential 
effects from subsidence on these areas. 

3.8.1 Introduction 

No formal delineations of wetlands or other Waters of the U.S. have been completed on either 
coal lease tract or the exploration license area. Seep and spring information was completed for 
the lease tracts and the exploration license area, but no wetlands data was collected. A formal 
wetlands delineation was completed for the proposed Elk Creek Mine portal location on private 
(fee) land. 

To complete this section, a reconnaissance of readily accessible sites on, and bordering, the 
project area was made to record the essential characteristics of wetlands and other Waters of 
the U.S. typical of the lease tracts and exploration license area. These reconnaissance efforts 
were completed May 27 and June 18 and 19, 1999. The wetland delineation report completed 
for the portal area in June 1999 was also reviewed to support this section. 

A more detailed analysis of the physical characteristics of seeps and springs can be found in 
Section 3.6, Groundwater. 

3.8.2 Affected Environment 
3.8.2.1 Wetlands 

Wetland plant communities, other than those associated with seeps, springs, and stockponds, 
are typically confined to the borders of creeks and drainage channels. The soils of the wetlands 
located in the major drainage channels may exhibit light-colored matrices with little evidence of 
hydric indicators due to the continuous flooding and scouring typical of such channel gradients. 
Conversely, soils of the drainage channels having more gentle gradients are darker in color with 
chromas of less than 2 being common. Wetland hydrology is provided by channel flooding, 
lateral flow, and subirrigation. Wetland/upland transition zones are typically narrow to abrupt as 
a function of channel topography, though broad transition zones can be found in more gently 
sloping areas. 

Wetland vegetation communities are comparatively simplistic in terms of diversity, typically 
being dominated by a few hydric species. The tree stratum, where it occurs, is dominated by 
narrow-leaf cottonwood {Populus angustifolia) and boxelder (Acer negundo) at lower elevations. 
Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is the common tree of wetlands occurring at higher elevations. 
Shrub species are essentially ubiquitous across the majority of the wetlands associated with 
creeks and drainage channels, although some small drainages located between narrowly 
spaced ridges do not support a shrub canopy. Dominant wetland shrubs include a variety of 
willows such as coyote willow (Salix exigua) and diamond willow (Salix planifolia) , thinleaf alder 
[Alnus tenuifolia), and red-osier dogwood (Cornus stoionifera) . Wetlands typically include a mix 
of these species although large, dense stands of willows or dogwood may be found in the more 
gently sloping floodplains of Hubbard Creek. 

Herbaceous species occurring within these wetlands are variable and have become established 
in direct response to soil/hydrologic conditions reflecting soil depth, water holding capacity, and 
time of saturation. Along drainages where sandy soils and comparatively steep gradients 
predominate, few herbaceous species have become established to any degree. Wetland 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-122 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

shrubs are the primary community component. Conversely, in more gently sloping drainages 
where soils have developed more fully and organic matter has accumulated, herbaceous 
species such as cow parsnip {Heracleum lanata), false Solomons-seal (Smilacina stellata), 
California false-helebore {Veratrim californicum), northwest cinquefoil {Potentilla gracilis), and a 
variety of sedge (Carex) and rush (Juncus) species have become established. 

3.8.2.2 Other Waters of the U. S. 

Drainage Channels - The major drainages of the project area are characterized by straight to 
curved channel beds. Braided formations and meanders are rare. The beds and banks are 
well developed and have formed in response to topographic gradients. These drainages exhibit 
gravel/cobble beds. Channel fines are typically sand-size. Smaller drainages in the project 
area have less well-defined beds and banks and are often vegetated to the channel borders. 
These channel beds often have a higher percentage of fines mixed with endemic gravels and 
cobbles. 

Seeps, Springs, and Stockponds - These three features are common across the project area. 
Seeps and springs are naturally occurring and are primarily associated with coal seam outcrops 
at lower elevations and with sandstone lenses and colluvial/landslide deposits at higher 
elevations. They are more common at higher elevations and may exhibit seasonal or perennial 
flows. Recharge comes from direct precipitation or snowmelt infiltration. Seeps and springs on 
steeper slopes typically support vegetation communities dominated by willows along with a 
variety of grasses and forbs. Seeps and springs on nearly level to moderate terrain, particularly 
at higher elevations, support herbaceous communities dominated by such species as California 
false-hellebore, streamside bluebells (Mertensia ciliata), and various sedge species. A wetland 
shrub component may be conspicuously lacking at the higher elevations due in some cases to 
the dense, competitive herbaceous stratum. Aspen typically provides a tree component where 
one exists, though this species is not a consistent indicator of wetland seep or spring 
conditions. 

Stockponds are man-made features which are filled either by spring or overland runoff. 
Wetlands occurring in association with developed stockponds are typically limited to a narrow 
bank fringe, though more extensive wetlands may develop in the drainages leading to stock 
pond depressions. The wetland fringe is dominated primarily by spikerush (Eleocharis) and 
rush (Juncus) species. Other species such as small-winged sedge (Carex microptera), 
clustered field sedge (Carex praegracilis), northwest cinquefoil and a variety of butter-cups 
(Ranunculus sp.) may also be present. A wetland shrub or tree stratum is rare, presumably as 
a direct result of animal use and/or soil compaction from earthwork by dozers or other similar 
equipment. 

3.8.2.3 Riparian Zones 

Riparian zones occur along project area drainages and are characterized by comparatively 
narrow vegetation communities requiring wetter soil hydrologic conditions than the surrounding 
uplands. The boundaries of riparian zones are limited in width by the steep topography 
associated with drainage systems. These zones may or may not include a recognized wetland 
component. A variety of tree species are usually associated with the riparian zones of the 
project area and, where occurring, the shrub component is denser than in the surrounding 
uplands due to soil moisture conditions. Recent studies in the semi-arid west comparing 
riparian areas with adjacent uplands showed that riparian zones support up to 400 percent 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-123 

more plant biomass, up to 200 percent more species richness, and contribute to large increases 
in density and species richness for birds when compared with upland areas (Clary and Medin, 
1998). 

Dougias-fir (Pseudotsuga menzesi!) dominates the drier portions of the riparian zone at lower 
elevations. Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) and Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus 
scopulorum) also occur on drier sideslopes along with shrubs such as Gambel oak {Quercus 
gambelii), snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus), serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), and 
chokecherry {Prunus virginiana), and red-osier dogwood. In more moist situations, tree species 
such as boxelder and narrow-leaf cottonwood are present. A spruce/fir community is common 
to riparian zones of higher elevations. This community is characterized by Englemann spruce 
{Picea englemannii) and Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens). Understory shrub species 
components are similar to those of lower elevations, though species such as Woods rose (Rosa 
woodsii) and thinleaf alder are somewhat more prevalent. Aspen becomes a co-dominant tree 
species as elevation increases and is the dominant species in wetter zones of the higher 
elevations. 

The herbaceous understory of the riparian zone is highly variable where upland species 
dominate. Where wetlands occur within this zone, the species present parallel those discussed 
in Section 3.8.2.1 , Wetlands. 

3.8.3 Environmental Consequences 

3.8.3.1 Summary 

The following text presents a discussion of potential impacts to the wetlands/riparian areas 
located within the project area. The impacts identified are those which can be expected to 
occur as a result of the proposed activities and alternatives detailed in Chapter 2, Alternatives 
Including the Proposed Action. Direct impacts include those associated with land clearing and 
grading to develop exploration and degasification boreholes, ventilation and exhaust shafts, and 
access roads. Indirect impacts, which vary by action alternative, are directly associated with 
potential subsidence dewatering in Hubbard and Terror creeks. 

3.8.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

Wetlands would not be affected by the reasonable foreseeable actions listed for either lease 
area or the exploration license area under the No-Action Alternative. These resources would 
continue to exist in their endemic state, subject to natural variability and the limited affects of 
incidental human use. It is anticipated that wetland form and function characteristics would 
remain essentially constant. Some surficial impacts associated with grazing and limited logging 
are expected. 

3.8.3.3 Direct Effects Common to All Alternatives 

Twelve of the 26 proposed exploration borehole sites were visited during the opening phases of 
this project. See Figure 4, Iron Point Exploration Plan. Forest Service stipulations preclude 
siting any drill hole in wetland/riparian areas. Wetland avoidance is a positive approach to siting 
borehole or shaft disturbances given grading and drilling requirements as well as regulatory 
concerns. Specific clearance would be required if a borehole was sited in a wetland/riparian 
area. Should wetlands be disturbed in this manner, impacts would include vegetation clearing 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draff Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-124 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

along with hydric soil removal and stockpiling. If fed by surface runoff, the potential hydrologic 
regime of the impacted wetland would not likely be affected. If, however, the wetland was 
supported by a groundwater source, this source could be negatively impacted by grading 
depending upon the required depth of excavation. 

Approximately 1 7 acres of access roads could be constructed or upgraded as a part of the 
proposed exploration or mining-related activities. Stipulations would require placing roads 
outside wetland/riparian areas. As with proposed borehole and shaft disturbances, wetlands 
would be avoided where possible. It can be reasonably assumed, however, that a portion of 
the road acreage to be constructed or upgraded would occur along, or unavoidably intersect, 
project area wetlands. Isolated wetlands out of stream channels would be impacted in much 
the same manner as for borehole and shaft development. Wetlands along stream channels, as 
well as the channels themselves, would be subject to limited grading sufficient to enable vehicle 
access. Such grading would likely eliminate or greatly modify the wetlands within and 
immediately bordering the road right-of-way. It would also disturb to some degree the non- 
vegetated bed and bank associated with the stream. (Examples of these types of impacts 
currently exist within the project area.) It can be assumed that these impacts would occur along 
the major drainages such as Hubbard, Bear, and Terror creeks given the comparative size of 
these drainages. 

The extent of these potential impacts cannot be assessed given the lack of wetland baseline 
data and the fact that some of the borehole, shaft, and access road locations are not known. 
The impacts would likely be limited, however, given the propensity to avoid wetland sites in light 
of construction and regulatory requirements. Reclamation following facility and road 
decommissioning would render these impacts short-term and mitigable given the adoption of a 
suitable wetland mitigation plan. Mitigation measures are proposed in Section 3.8.6, Mitigation 
and Monitoring, to address the lack of data and the inability to quantify these wetland impacts. 

3.8.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 

The proposed construction of boreholes, shafts, and roads follow plans that are the same for 
Alternatives B, C, and D. Therefore, direct impacts to wetlands are identical across all action 
alternatives. The impacts that vary by alternative are the indirect impacts associated with the 
surface and near surface effects of subsidence. 

Subsidence associated with longwall operations results in a "cracking" of the soil surface above 
the retreating longwall operation as well as a caving, fracturing, and deformation of geologic 
strata between the surface and the coal seam being mined. Caving and fracturing occur in an 
ascending sequence immediately above the mined coal seam. Strata deformation occurs 
transitionally above the comparatively thin fractured zone and extends to the surface. Except in 
shallower overburden situations, deformation affects the majority of the geologic strata 
overlying the coal seam. While each of these effects could impact seeps and springs (and the 
stockponds and wetlands they support), coal removal, caving, and fracturing are likely to have 
the greatest impacts on these resources. As coal removal, caving and fracturing occur, and the 
geologic strata bearing the groundwater giving rise to seeps and springs is disrupted. With 
disruption, there is a high potential, especially where coal removal and caving occurs, to modify 
or eliminate the water sources supporting these features resulting in a drying impact to 
wetlands. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 



Page 3-125 



Figure 14, Subsidence Potential Map, depicts zones showing the potential for subsidence 
affects rated from "very low" to "very high" based on overburden depth and the presence of 
geologic hazards. As can be seen, the potential affects of subsidence are inversely 
proportional to overburden depth. Approximately 20 seeps and springs are located in zones for 
which the potential for subsidence is considered to be high to very high. These seeps and 
springs and their attendant wetlands and stockponds have a reasonable potential for being 
modified in some way, or eliminated, by subsidence. 

With dewatering of the coal seam during operations, wetlands along Hubbard Creek may be 
affected, either in size, form, and/or function due to a reduction of seep and spring flow that 
contribute to these wetlands. This alternative assumes subsidence of Hubbard and Terror 
creeks. Section 3.5, Surface Water Hydrology, indicates that the creeks may be dewatered due 
to mining. Any loss of flow in the creeks would affect the wetland and riparian vegetation in the 
stream bottoms. Water loss could substantially reduce the size, form and function of the 
existing wetlands and riparian areas and the associated habitats. Seep and spring 
contributions to Hubbard Creek near the subcrop of the D coal seam may be reduced by an 
estimated less than 1 to 14 percent per year by mine dewatering depending upon annual 
stream flow volumes. A reduction of less than 1 percent would not likely result in a measurable 
effect to the wetlands within the drainage. No impacts would be expected to the shrub or tree 
strata given that these comparatively deep-rooted species are well established in the drainage. 
Some changes in composition of the herbaceous strata could occur, but would not likely be 
discernable. 

A flow reduction of 14 percent could have a measurable effect on the Hubbard Creek 
wetlands/riparian areas. The wetland/riparian and boundary zone would likely shrink along the 
margins of the drainage. Dominant wetland herbaceous species inhabiting this zone and 
requiring saturated soils throughout the growing season would likely be replaced, in part, by 
wetland or upland plants adapted to less hydric soil moisture regimes. Recruitment of wetland 
shrub and tree species, particularly willows (Salixsp.), would likely cease and plant growth be 
curtailed somewhat. Established tall shrubs and trees along the drainage margins and on the 
higher alluvial bars would typically weather these conditions for the first few growing seasons 
and then begin to be affected depending upon the length of time that these conditions 
prevailed. 

Following cessation of underground mining activities, the abandoned workings would fill with 
water and be expected to recover to the approximate conditions that existed prior to mining. 
When this occurs, seep and spring conditions would be expected to return to Hubbard Creek 
near the vicinity of the D coal seam subcrop. 

3.8.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 

The affects of subsidence under this alternative would be the same as Alternative B except that 
the adoption of multi-seam mining activities and the increased area to be mined would create 
greater impacts. With multi-seam mining, the thickness of geologic strata subject to caving and 
fracturing behind the retreating mining operation is somewhat greater. Therefore, the potential 
is greater in Alternative C than in Alternatives B and D to affect more seeps, springs, 
stockponds and their dependent wetlands. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-126 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.8.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 

Alternative D is identical to Alternative C except that subsidence would not be permitted under 
specific features such as Terror Creek, Hubbard Creek, or the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV 
electric transmission line. The effects of subsidence would be the same as for Alternative C 
except that there would be no risk to the wetland/riparian areas in Hubbard and Terror creeks, 
and the number of seeps and springs potentially to be affected could be somewhat less. 

3.8.4 Cumulative impacts 

The total acreage of wetlands disturbed previously by mining and other activities within the 
cumulative affects area is unknown. No wetland delineations are known to exist which would 
cover the existing mining disturbances, in total. Seep and spring surveys competed for the 
exploration and lease areas did not include the collection of typical wetland vegetation data. 
Past exploration, shaft and borehole drilling, portal construction, and general access road 
development activities could have impacted wetlands to an unknown, but limited degree on 
existing permitted mine areas. 

Given the lack of information regarding past impacts to wetlands and the fact that no 
comprehensive wetland studies have been completed for the project area, cumulative impacts 
to the wetland resources cannot be calculated. It can be assumed that the exploration, drilling, 
and road construction activities proposed would affect these resources in a manner 
proportionate to the acreage affected by past operations. The indirect affects of subsidence on 
wetland resources, in the form of seeps and springs, are similarly unquantifiable with respect to 
cumulative affects. 

Bowie has been issued a General Permit No. 21 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to 
construct two sediment ponds and a portion of a road in association with the Bowie No. 2 Mine. 
The total disturbance, including both wetlands and other Waters of the U.S., is limited to 0.33 
acres. This disturbance will be mitigated at a 1 wetland acre disturbed : 1 wetland acre created 
ratio. 

Oxbow has been issued a General Permit No. 21 by the Corps of Engineers for the proposed 
portal construction in Elk Creek. This permit was issued on July 28, 1999. 

3.8.5 Mitigation and Monitoring 

Riparian and wetland areas present contain potential critical habitat for the southwestern willow 
flycatcher. According to the unsuitability criteria, affecting these areas by mining requires U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service Consultation. Mitigation measures may include avoidance of suitable 
habitat, establishing buffer zones or off-site mitigation {see Appendix C, Unsuitability Analysis 
Report - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract, Appendix D, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Elk Creek 
Coal Lease Tract, Section 3.9, Terrestrial Wildlife, and Section 3.10, Aquatic 
Resources/Fisheries) . 

Complete a delineation survey of wetlands and other Waters of the U.S. proposed to be 
disturbed by surface facilities, including roads, on both coal lease tracts and the exploration 
license area prior to surface disturbance. The delineation must be conducted according to 
Corps of Engineers guidelines and coordinated with any seep and spring survey to be 
conducted in the future. The report produced need include a map depicting the locations and 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-127 

acreages of the delineated wetlands and other Waters of the U.S. which would be affected. 
The lessors should then review this map and determine which impacts to wetlands and/or other 
Waters of the U.S. could be avoided or minimized and adjust surface disturbance locations 
accordingly. Permitting and mitigation planning would then follow. This measure would be 
highly effective in determining the acreage of wetlands and other Waters of the U.S. which 
could be affected, addressing avoidance and minimization requirements, and planning for 
mitigation, if necessary. 

A survey and ongoing monitoring of seeps, springs, and stockponds within the lease tracts and 
exploration license area would be valuable. The delineation would include both wetland and 
other Waters of the U.S. features and be completed according to Corps of Engineers 
guidelines. The report would include a map depicting the locations of delineated wetlands and 
other Waters of the U.S. present, as well as information addressing the acreages and functions 
of the wetlands noted. This proposed mitigation measure would be a part of the permitting 
requirements of the Colorado DMG and the OSM for both the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tracts. This measure would be effective in providing a means to determine which seeps, 
springs, and stockponds are affected by subsidence and what follow-up wetland mitigation 
measures might be required. 

3.9 TERRESTRIAL WILDLIFE 

Issue: Minimize the disruption to wildlife and wildlife habitats. Areas of concern include: the 
impacts to threatened, endangered, or sensitive species; impacts to deer habitat; loss of habitat 
and habitat effectiveness; and, impacts associated with continued and/or increased human 
activity. 

3.9.1 Introduction 

This section addresses wildlife species of concern within the wildlife study area. The wildlife 
study area covered by this analysis encompasses the Elk Creek, Bear Creek, Terror Creek and 
East Fork of Terror Creek watersheds, as well as the lower and middle portions of the Hubbard 
Creek watershed. This area includes the entire coal lease tracts and the iron Point Exploration 
License area as well as surrounding habitats. The extent and boundaries of the study area 
addressed by this document were delineated in consultation with Forest Service personnel. For 
most wildlife, direct, indirect, and reasonably foreseeable cumulative effects would be confined 
within the wildlife study area. However, for some species such as elk and deer and threatened 
and endangered species (bald eagle and peregrine falcon), larger regional population areas 
were evaluated to assess potential project related impacts. 

Wildlife species and issues of concern addressed by this analysis were determined through 
consultation with state and federal agency personnel, a review of agency and public comments 
received during the EIS scoping process, and evaluation of potential species presence provided 
based on wildlife species" ranges and other pertinent information sources. Identified wildlife 
concerns are as follows. 

► Minimizing impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitats. 

► Potential impacts of subsidence to unique habitats such as wetlands, riparian areas, 
and rock outcrop and wildlife species dependent on these habitats. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-128 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

- Potential impacts of subsidence to wildlife water sources (e.g., seeps and springs). 

► Potential for impacts to big game species (elk, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion). 

► Increased potential for elk and mule deer/automobile and train collisions with 
increased traffic levels 

► Potential impacts to nesting golden eagle and other raptors. 

► Potential impacts to state or federally listed threatened, endangered, proposed, and 
candidate species as well as BLM species of special concern and forest sensitive 
species. 

Information regarding wildlife species and current habitat conditions within the study area was 
obtained from a review of existing published sources, Forest Service file information, and 
Colorado Division of Wildlife WRIS mapping data. 

3.9.2 Affected Environment 

3.9.2.1 Habitat Overview 

Eight vegetation communities/wildlife habitats exist within the study area. See Figure 21, 
Vegetation Map. A "Bare" habitat type is also present within the study area. Oak brush habitat 
is essentially ubiquitous across the mid to lower elevation portions of the study area occurring 
on ridge slopes, along ephemeral drainages, and over level to moderately rolling mountain 
meadows. Stands of aspen are located on side-slopes and in drainages at the mid- to higher 
elevations. This habitat occurs on less steep slopes overall than the conifer communities. It 
intergrades with most of the other vegetation types on site, excepting pinyon/juniper. 
Pinyon/juniper habitat is located on steep west- and southwest-facing slopes at elevations 
generally below 7,000 feet. Areas of rock outcrop are a common habitat feature in 
pinyon/juniper. Steep to very steep canyon walls along Hubbard Creek and its tributaries 
support spruce/fir habitat. Elevations occupied by this conifer type nominally range from 6,800 
to 8,000+ feet. Douglas-fir habitat is supported along the Terror, Hubbard, and Bear Creek 
drainages at elevations around 7,000 feet or less where the narrow canyon drainages and rapid 
runoff potentials preclude the establishment of the cottonwood habitat. 

This community is also found on north-facing ridge slopes primarily bordering Bear Creek. 
Cottonwood habitat is restricted to the south-central portions of Hubbard Creek at elevations 
below approximately 7,000 feet. Slopes are typically nearly level to level reflecting an overall 
wetter soil moisture regime as compared to the Douglas-fir and spruce/fir vegetation 
communities located in the drainages. Grass/forb habitat is scattered across the study area 
and is associated primarily with nearly level to moderately sloping sites on a variety of aspects. 
This community occurs as small natural clearings within other vegetation types, revegetated 
development disturbances, and heavily grazed meadows often associated with developed 
stockponds. The "Bare" habitat designation includes rock slides, steep-walled cliffs, and other 
areas which support little or no vegetation due to the surface expression of geologic material. 
Bare areas are also associated with the boundaries of the Terror Creek Reservoir. Further 
discussion and characterization of these vegetation communities/wildlife habitats is provided in 
Section 3.7, Vegetation. 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-129 

3.9.2.2 Big Game 

The project area occurs within Colorado Division of Wildlife Game Management Unit 521 . Mule 
deer, elk, black bear, and mountain lion occur within the study area. Mule deer elk populations 
within the study area region exhibit seasonal movements to and from higher to lower elevation 
habitats, with most shifts in distribution occurring as a result of elevational migration in response 
to weather patterns and snow cover. 

The majority of both coal lease tracts and the Iron Point Exploration license area represents 
summer range for mule deer while the lower elevations (approximately below 7,400 feet) are 
used as winter range (see Figure 22, Mule Deer Range). Preferred winter range areas are 
provided primarily by south and west-facing slopes of oak brush, mixed shrub, and pinyon- 
juniper habitats where browse is plentiful. Mule Deer Severe Winter Range and Winter 
Concentration Areas are located on the lowest elevation slopes where aspect and exposure 
limit snow accumulations. These areas are located along State Highway 133 and the North 
Fork of the Gunnison River below the confluence of Bear Creek and the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River (see Figure 22, Mule Deer Range). Severe Winter Range is defined as that 
part of the range where 90 percent of the individuals are located when the annual snowpack is 
at its maximum and/or temperatures are at a minimum in the two worst winters out of ten. 

Elk winter range extends to higher elevations than mule deer winter range since elk are not as 
restricted by snow cover as are mule deer. Elk summer range also does not extend to as low 
elevations as mule deer summer range since elk prefer the higher and cooler elevations where 
aspen and spruce/fir habitats provide thermal and security cover. Elk winter range generally 
occurs below the 8,000 to 8,400-foot elevation level (see Figure 23, Elk Range) and is typified 
by oak brush and mixed shrub slopes where exposure limits snow accumulation. Elk Severe 
Winter Range and Winter Concentration Areas are located on the lower elevation slopes within 
the Elk Creek drainage and along State Highway 133 and the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
below the confluence of Bear Creek and the North Fork of the Gunnison River (see Figure 23, 
Elk Range). 

Elk calving or production areas are defined as the portion of the range occupied by cow elk 
from May 15 to June 15. No elk production areas have been identified by the Colorado Division 
of Wildlife within the two coal lease tracts or the Iron Point Exploration License area (see Figure 
23, Elk Range). The only known production area near the study area is located at higher 
elevations within the uppermost portions of the Terror Creek and Hubbard Creek watersheds. 
Only known production areas are mapped by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and elk calving 
activities also are likely to occur in other areas of suitable habitat. It is likely that some level of 
elk calving activity occurs in lower elevation aspen habitats within the Iron Point Exploration 
License area especially in years with heavier accumulations of snow and delayed spring 
snowmelt. 

The life history requirements of black bear are satisfied by a variety of habitats, including those 
present within the study area. Prime black bear habitat is characterized by relatively 
inaccessible terrain, thick understory vegetation, and abundant sources of shrub or tree borne 
soft or hard mast (Pelton, 1982). Black bears are omnivorous but feed primarily on herbaceous 
vegetation and berries. They become carnivores only when prey or carrion is readily available. 
Habitat areas of relative refuge from human populations are considered a prime requirement for 
sustaining stable black bear populations, although black bears can habituate to human 
presence (Pelton, 1982). Black bears are opportunistic and easily attracted by the presence of 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-130 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

human food and garbage that is not properly stored. They can become a nuisance around 
areas of human habitation, especially in years when natural food availability is reduced. Black 
bears are relatively common in the study area, and Colorado Division of Wildlife WRIS mapping 
designates the entire area black bear overall range. Colorado Division of Wildlife WRIS 
mapping also indicates there is a black bear fall concentration area in the Upper Terror Creek 
drainage around the confluence of the East and West Fork of Terror Creek. 

Mountain lion occur throughout the study area region with their range being closely tied to that 
of elk and mule deer. Mountain lion prey primarily on mule deer and young elk in this region 
and, like their prey, are typically wide-ranging. Mountain lions will follow their prey's seasonal 
movement and inhabit summer range or winter range in conjunction with deer and elk. They 
are typically shy and avoid areas with human activity. As a result of their wide-ranging habits, 
population densities are usually low. Documented home ranges for mountain lion in the 
western United States range from 32.5 to 479.0 square kilometers (Anderson, 1983). Preferred 
habitat of mountain lions consists of rough or steep terrain in remote areas with suitable rock or 
vegetational cover. Colorado Division of Wildlife WRIS mapping indicates the entire study area 
is classified as mountain lion overall range. 

3.9.2.3 Furbearers and Predators 

Due to the secretive nature and nocturnal habits of many of the furbearers, little information on 
distribution and population densities within the region of the study area is available. Although 
specific information regarding population numbers and the distribution of most of these species 
does not exist, some general conclusions relating to species occurrence in the study area can 
be made based on known habitat preferences and habitats present. Furbearers and predators 
present in the study area include beaver, coyote, red fox, long-tailed weasel, badger, striped 
skunk, and bobcat. 

Bobcat and coyote occur in a wide variety of habitats, and coyotes are likely to occur wherever 
suitable prey (rabbits, small mammals) are present. Bobcats are found most often in 
association with rugged areas of rimrock, broken terrain, and rock outcrop in a variety of 
woodland and shrubiand habitats. Preferred prey includes large rodents, rabbits, and hares, 
although bobcats may switch to alternative prey when preferred food items become scarce 
(Koehler, 1987). 

The distribution of beaver in Colorado is nearly statewide where suitable aquatic habitat is 
present (Fitzgerald et al., 1994). Suitable aquatic habitat for beaver is restricted to primarily the 
perennial portions of Terror Creek and Hubbard Creek. A large beaver pond complex is 
present in upper Hubbard Creek near the historic (now abandoned) Blue Ribbon Mine site. 

The striped skunk prefers habitats near water but can be found far from water in a wide variety 
of habitats. This species is most common in agricultural areas at the mid to lower elevations 
and is not expected to be common in the study area. Badgers and long-tailed weasels are 
found at all elevations within the state (Fitzgerald et al., 1994). Long-taiied weasels are found 
in a diversity of habitats and are likely to be present throughout the upland portions of the study 
area. Badgers prefer grasslands, open shrublands, meadows, and open forests where an 
abundance of pocket gophers and ground squirrels occur. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-131 

Red fox are found throughout Colorado. In the mountainous portions of the state they prefer 
montane meadows, forest edges, and riparian areas (Fitzgerald et al., 1994). These are the 
most likely habitats that red fox would inhabit within the study area. 

3.9.2.4 Waterbirds 

Waterbirds include waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wading birds typically associated with 
wetlands and bodies of surface water. In the study area, suitable areas of aquatic and wetland 
habitat for waterbirds is restricted primarily to Hubbard Creek, Terror Creek, and Terror Creek 
Reservoir. High elevations in combination with the general lack of shallow-water shoreline 
areas and emergent vegetation around water bodies, favored by many species of waterfowl and 
shorebirds, limits waterbird use of the study area. Use of the study area for resting, feeding, or 
nesting by waterbirds is limited primarily to puddle ducks (such as mallard and teal), spotted 
sandpiper, and killdeer. 

3.9.2.5 Raptors 

Several species of raptors are known to occur and nest within the region of the study area. 
Potential breeders include turkey vulture, northern harrier, golden eagle, Cooper's hawk, sharp- 
shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, prairie falcon, American kestrel, western screech owl, great 
horned owl, northern pygmy owl, long-eared owl, and northern saw-whet owl. 

Nest site preferences of raptors potentially breeding in the area vary considerably. Red-tailed 
hawks, golden eagles and great horned owls typically nest in relatively large trees with open 
crowns or on cliff ledges and areas of rock outcrop. Great horned owls do not build their own 
nests and often occupy old nests of eagles, hawks, ravens, crows, and tree squirrels in larger 
trees or on cliff faces. Turkey vultures nest on cliff ledges and also in hollows in snags or 
stumps, or in caves while prairie falcon nests on scrapes on cliff ledges or in rock cavities. All 
of these species prefer primarily open shrublands and meadow areas for hunting. Suitable 
nesting habitat for these species is provided primarily by large cottonwood trees along the lower 
elevation portions of the drainages or by cliffs and rock outcrop along upper portions of the 
canyon edges. Nesting by a pair of golden eagles has been documented by the Forest Service 
in Upper Hubbard Creek canyon. 

The remaining potential breeding raptors in the study area are associated primarily with 
forested habitats except for northern harrier. Northern harriers typically nest on the ground or in 
low shrubs in pockets of dense shrub and grass cover typically on drainage side-slopes or near 
wetlands. Cooper's hawks nest in aspen or in deciduous trees in riparian situations but are also 
known to nest in mature conifers (Ehrlich et al., 1988; Terres, 1980). Nests are typically 
constructed in an upper crotch of a tree near the trunk and below the canopy top. Sharp- 
shinned hawks, unlike Cooper's, nest in a wide variety of wooded habitats ranging from 
mountain mahogany stands to conifers. Nest configuration and placement is similar to 
Cooper's hawk. The American kestrel is a cavity nester, and abandoned woodpecker holes, 
magpie nests, and crevices in rock outcrop are used as nest sites. A variety of open and 
wooded habitats are occupied by the American kestrel, although it avoids densely forested 
habitats. 

Western screech owl, northern saw-whet owl, and northern pygmy owl nest in natural tree 
cavities or abandoned woodpecker or squirrel holes. Western screech owls are usually found 
in deciduous riparian habitats, while mature and old-growth mixed deciduous and coniferous 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-132 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

forests are considered the best habitats for breeding for northern saw-whet and northern pygmy 
owls since the most suitable cavities for nesting are excavated by woodpeckers in large, 
diseased or dead trees (Reynolds et al., 1989). Northern saw-whet owls and northern pygmy 
owls occur over a relatively wide elevational range and have been found in low-elevation 
deciduous woodlands to high-elevation conifer forests (Reynolds et al., 1989). Northern saw- 
whet owls seem to prefer marshy or riparian areas within coniferous forests (Terres, 1980). 
Nests of northern pygmy owls are frequently next to meadow or marshy openings within 
deciduous woodlands and coniferous forests (Reynolds et al., 1989). Long-eared owl like great 
horned owl do not build their own nest and usually occupy abandoned magpie, hawk, crow, or 
squirrel nests it tall shrubs or trees (Ehrlich et al., 1988). They inhabit coniferous and mixed 
coniferous/deciduous woodlands. Nest sites are often at forest edges near water or moist 
meadow habitats (Terres, 1980). Suitable nesting habitat for all of these species, except 
western screech owl may be provided within the study area by stands of aspen, Douglas-fir, 
and spruce/fir. Lower elevation riparian habitat along the creeks represent the only potential 
nesting habitat for western screech owl. 

3.9.2.6 Songbirds and Other Avian Species 

A variety of songbird and similar species reside within the study area. The majority of these 
species migrate south or to lower elevations for the winter months, and only a few species 
remain in the region during the winter months. Woodpeckers, jays, chickadees, nuthatches, 
and finches are representative year-round residents. Many of the migrants are neotropical 
species which winter in Central and South America. Neotropical migratory birds include a full 
array of species that require habitats ranging from early serai or successional stages to old- 
growth. Others prefer edge habitat areas that occur between forested and more open habitats. 

Recent reductions in Neotropical migratory bird populations have been documented in the 
United States by the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The causes of these reductions 
are not fully understood but have been attributed to a variety of factors including: reduction and 
fragmentation of forested breeding habitat in the United States, nest predation and parasitism, 
and use of pesticides and deforestation in Central and South America. 

3.9.2.7 Threatened, Endangered, and Other Species of Concern 

No identified critical habitat for any state or federally listed threatened or endangered species 
has been identified within or near the study area. Table 3.9-1, Threatened, Endangered, and 
Other Species of Concern Potentially Occurring in the Study Area, lists federal and state 
threatened, endangered, and other species of concern potentially occurring in the study area. 

Spotted bat has been found at scattered locations (primarily in arid country) in the western 
United States (Barbour and Davis, 1969). Habitat occupied by this bat ranges from low desert 
to montane coniferous forests normally below 8,000 feet in elevation (Watkins, 1977). They 
have been found in a variety of habitat types including open ponderosa pine, desert scrub, 
pinyon-juniper, and open pasture and hay fields. They roost alone in rock crevices high up on 
steep cliff faces. Cracks and crevices in limestone or sandstone cliffs provide important 
roosting sites (Leonard and Fenton, 1983; Easterla, 1973), especially where rocky cliffs occur in 
proximity to riparian areas (Findley et al. 1975). Rock outcrop areas along Hubbard and Terror 
creeks represent the most suitable habitat areas for spotted bat within the study area. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-133 



Table 3.9-1 

Threatened, Endangered, and Other Species of Concern 

Potentially Occurring in the Study Area 


Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 1 


Mammals 


Spotted bat 


Euderma maculatum 


FS, SS 


Townsend's big-eared bat 


Corynorhinus townsendii 


FS, SS 


Fringed myotis 


Myotis thysanodes 


SS 


Birds 


Bald eagle 


Haliaeetus leucocephalus 


T, EC 


American peregrine falcon 


Falco peregrinus anatum 


E, EC 


Northern goshawk 


Accipiter gentilis 


FS, SS 


Flammulated owl 


Otus flammeolus 


FS 


Three-toed woodpecker 


Picoides tridactylus 


FS 


Black swift 


Cypseloides niger 


FS 


Olive-sided flycatcher 


Contopus borealis 


FS 


Southwestern willow flycatcher 


Empidonax traillii extimus 


E 


Golden-crowned kinglet 


Regulus satrapa 


FS 


Loggerhead shrike 


Lanius ludovicianus 


FS 


Amphibians and Reptiles 


Tiger salamander 


Ambystoma tigrinum 


FS 


Boreal toad 


Bufo boreas boreas 


C, FS 


Northern leopard frog 


Rana pipiens 


FS 


1 Status: 

E = Listed Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. 

Species which are in imminent jeopardy of extinction. 

T = Listed Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. 

Species which are threatened with extinction. 

C = Listed as Candidate by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Taxa for which the Service has sufficient 

information to support listing as threatened or endangered. 

EC = Listed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife as endangered in Colorado. A species in immediate 

jeopardy of becoming extinct throughout all or a significant portion of its range. 

FS + Classified as "sensitive" by the Regional Forester when occurring on lands managed by the U.S. 

Forest Service (5/6/94 draft listing). 

SS = BLM listed species of special concern. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-134 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

Townsend's big-eared bats are normally found below 9,600 feet in elevation and apparently do 
not prefer dense coniferous forests (Barbour and Davis, 1969). This bat is usually found in 
small groups (10 to 100) in mine shafts, caves, and man-made structures, often in view of light. 
It occurs throughout most of Colorado, but its distribution seems to be determined by suitable 
roost and hibernation sites (Colorado Division of Wildlife, 1984). Suitable roost and maternity 
sites are not present within the study area, and it is unlikely that this species is a local resident. 
Therefore, no further analysis will be provided for Townsend's big-eared bat in this document. 

The fringed myotis occurs as scattered populations at moderate elevations on the Western 
Slope of Colorado and has been found in association with ponderosa pine, pinyon/juniper, and 
scrub oak habitats (Colorado Division of Wildlife, 1984). It apparently is not common in 
Colorado, and has only been found at elevations up to 7,500 feet (Fitzgerald et al., 1994.). 
Caves, mines, and buildings are used as day and night roosts as well as hibernation sites. 
Suitable roost and maternity sites are generally lacking within the study area, and it is unlikely 
that this species is a local resident. No further analysis will be provided for fringed myotis in this 
document. 

Bald eagles occur primarily as wintering birds in Colorado, and wintering populations are known 
to occur along the major river systems in the state. A few nesting records also exist for the 
state. In the study area, the bald eagle is only present as a winter resident along the North 
Fork of the Gunnison River drainage. This drainage and adjacent habitats are designated as a 
winter concentration area and winter range, respectively, by the Colorado Division of Wildlife 
(see Figure 24, Bald Eagle Range). Suitable winter habitat for bald eagles consists of secure 
diurnal perches, winter nighttime roosts protected from severe weather conditions, and foraging 
areas usually associated with large lakes or rivers (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1983). 
Although preferred wintering areas are usually near open water where eagles feed on fish or 
waterfowl, bald eagles will also hunt over open, upland areas if other food sources (e.g., rabbits 
or deer carrion) are readily available (Green, 1985). Kirk Madariaga, District Wildlife Manager 
with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, indicated that as many as four to five bald eagles may be 
found along the North Fork of the Gunnison River near the two coal lease tracts during the 
winter months (Madariaga, pers. com., 1999). 

The study area occurs within the nesting range of the American peregrine falcon. The 
peregrine's preferred nest site is a rugged, remote cliff (100 to 300 feet in height) usually 
overlooking water, marshy, or riparian areas where prey is abundant (U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 1984). Preferred hunting areas include cropland, meadows, river bottoms, marshes, 
and lakes which attract abundant bird life. Peregrines can travel up to 17 miles from nesting 
cliffs to hunting areas (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1984). There are no known peregrine 
falcon nest sites in the study area, and suitable nesting habitat is limited to a few cliff areas 
along lower Terror Creek and upper Hubbard Creek below its confluence with Willow Creek. 
No evidence of peregrine nesting activity was noted in these areas during the May 1 999 site 
reconnaissance. Peregrines may occasionally wander over the study area while foraging or 
during migration. 

The northern goshawk inhabits coniferous and mixed forests in much of the northern 
hemisphere. In Colorado northern goshawks nest in dense coniferous forest, often on north 
slopes and near water. Nesting also has been documented in aspen and in trees in riparian 
habitats at the lower elevations (Bailey and Niedrach, 1965). They can be found in any forested 
ecosystems in the Gunnison Basin area, but blocks of mature and old growth forest habitats 
(200 acres or greater) with a relatively open understory and small openings are preferred 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-135 

(Hayward et al. ,1990; Finch, 1992; Andrews and Righter, 1992). They are sensitive to human 
disturbance and have abandoned nests and young due to human activities that take place too 
close to their nest (Kennedy and Stahiecker, 1 991). Mature stands of Douglas-fir and 
spruce/fir, especially with adjacent stands of aspen, within the study area represent potential 
foraging and nesting habitat. 

Fiammulated owls prefer mature ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests with open canopies. 
Old growth (>200 years) or mature (>150 years) stands of ponderosa pine and ponderosa/ 
Douglas-fir forests, often mixed with mature aspen, are preferred as nesting habitat (McCallum, 
1 994). A preference for stands with an open, park-like spacing of trees may be due to this 
species foraging habitats (Reynolds et al., 1989). Fiammulated owls are obligate cavity 
nesters, and they nest in natural or woodpecker cavities. Both live and dead ponderosa pine, 
aspen, and Douglas-fir are used for nesting (Reynolds et al., 1989). Nesting territories are 
relatively small; a mean size of approximately 14 ha (34.6 acres) was reported by Linkhart 
(1984) for a population in Colorado. Mature stands of Douglas-fir and aspen represent potential 
habitat for this species in the study area. 

Three-toed woodpeckers are associated primarily with mixed coniferous forests up to 9,000 feet 
in elevation. They require snags (standing, dead trees) for feeding, perching, nesting, and 
roosting, although they will feed in live trees. Foraging occurs in areas with abundant dead and 
decayed trees where it eats mostly larvae of wood-boring beetles by peeling the bark of dead 
conifers to extract wood boring insects (Terres, 1980). Snags at least 12 inches dbh (diameter 
at breast height) and 15 feet in height are required for its excavated nest cavities (Towry, 1987). 
Fire or insect killed trees are major food sources. Forest fires and areas of insect outbreaks 
may lead to local increases in woodpecker numbers after 3 to 5 years (Bull et al., 1986; Scott et 
al., 1980). The general lack of diseased or burned coniferous forest stands within the study 
area may limit the likelihood of local populations of three-toed woodpecker. 

The black swift is considered rare to uncommon in all mountain ranges in the state except the 
San Juan Mountains (Andrews and Righter, 1992). Foraging birds range widely at high 
elevations over montane and adjacent lowland habitats. They nest on precipitous cliffs near or 
behind high waterfalls (Andrews and Righter, 1992). Preferred nesting habitat is lacking within 
the study area, but foraging birds may occasionally occur over the area. 

The olive-sided flycatcher is a neotropical migrant songbird that is widespread in open, mature 
stands of coniferous forest from the Rocky Mountains westward. In Colorado it occurs in 
spruce/fir forests at elevations from 9,000 to 1 0,000 feet (Terres, 1 980). It prefers forest edges 
near clearings, wooded streams, and lakes and is known to use burns and clearings, including 
clearcuts, for foraging. This species feeds on flying insects by darting out from high, exposed 
perch sites. Feeding and advertising behavior is characterized by conspicuous perching near 
the top of dominant trees or snags in the landscape. Snags or open branches are often used 
as perch sites, and populations are usually highest where snags are abundant (Ehrlich et al., 
1988). This species breeds primarily in mature spruce/fir and Douglas-fir habitat and is a likely 
summer resident in these habitats within the study area. 

The southwestern willow flycatcher is also a neotropical migrant songbird that winters in Mexico 
and Central America and breeds as far north as the Colorado River in western Colorado. In 
Colorado willow flycatchers are considered an obligate riparian species that inhabit cottonwood- 
willow associations (Kingery and Dillon, 1987) and breed in close association with dense willow 
thickets (Sedgwick and Knopf, 1992). The breeding range of this subspecies includes areas of 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-136 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

suitable habitat within the study area up to an elevation of 8,500 feet (USFWS, 1996). The only 
suitable areas of habitat for this species within the study area occurs in association with the 
large beaver pond complex on Hubbard Creek near the historic Blue Ribbon Mine. The 
periphery of these beaver ponds support dense stands of coyote willow [Salix exigua) that 
could support nesting activity by southwestern willow flycatcher. 

Golden-crowned kinglets are considered uncommon to fairly common residents of the higher 
mountains in Colorado (Andrews and Righter, 1992). They breed primarily in mature, dense 
spruce/fir forests but can be found in all coniferous forest types and sometimes in lowland 
woodlands during the winter months. They seem to be most common in suitable habitats west 
of the Continental Divide (Andrews and Righter, 1992). Golden-crowned kinglet may inhabit 
mature stands of Douglas-fir and spruce within the study area. 

Another neotropical migrant, the loggerhead shrike, prefers open country, thinly wooded, or 
scrubby land with clearings (Terres, 1980). Andrews and Righter (1992) report this species to 
be a fairly common resident in the western valleys of Colorado. Preferred habitats include open 
riparian areas, grasslands, shrublands, and open pinyon/juniper woodlands. While Robbins et 
al. (1989, as cited in Andrews and Righter 1992) indicate that this species has shown significant 
population declines over most of North America, populations appear to be stable in western 
Colorado (Lambeth, pers. com., as cited in Andrews and Righter, 1992). Populations are 
declining in the midwestern and northeastern United States for reasons which are poorly 
understood. Population declines may be related to the decline in agriculture and increase in 
second-growth forests (Fraser and Luukkonen, 1986) and the use of pesticides (Ehrlich et al., 
1988). Loggerhead shrike is likely a summer resident of lower elevations shrubiand habitats 
within the study area. 

Tiger salamanders occur in virtually all habitats where there is water nearby for breeding. They 
are usually absent from waters where predatory fish such as trout are present (Hammerson, 
1986). Shallow pools in small wetland areas, Terror Creek Reservoir, backwater areas along 
perennial streams, and intermittent streams within the study area represent suitable breeding 
habitat for this species. 

The boreal toad occurs in the mountainous portions of Colorado and is most common between 
8,500 and 1 1 ,000 feet in elevation (Hammerson, 1986). They hide beneath rocks or logs or in 
rodent burrows when inactive. Toads emerge from hibernation in May to breed and return to 
hibernaculum in late August and September (Hammerson, 1986). Preferred breeding habitats in 
Colorado include wet meadows, marshes, and the margins of beaver ponds and lakes 
(Hammerson ,1986). Boreal toads breed in any body of water lacking a strong current and with 
gradually descending banks at some point around the perimeter (Loeffier, 1998). Egg 
placement is usually in shallows where the thermal effects of the sun are optimized (Loeffier, 
1998). Available evidence indicates that females may disperse over greater distances and into 
drier habitats than the males (Loeffier, 1998). Recent radio re-location studies of PIT-tagged 
(microchiped) toads by the Colorado Division of Wildlife indicate that male toads remain within 
300 meters of breeding sites, while females can move up to 3 to 4 miles from breeding areas 
(Jones, pers. comm., 1999). Selected upland habitats for both males and females include 
aspen and conifer habitats with rocky areas or ground squirrel holes where toads seek refuge in 
rock crevices or rodent burrows to avoid temperature extremes and desiccation (Jones, pers. 
comm., 1999). The boreal toad may be present in wetland areas with standing water at 
elevations above 8,500 feet within the study area. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-137 

Northern leopard frogs are a highly aquatic species and are usually found in close association 
with the banks and shallow water areas of permanent marshes, ponds, streams, lakes, and 
reservoirs. Water bodies with rooted aquatic vegetation are preferred (Hammerson, 1986). 
Pools and slow moving streams within meadow areas represent suitable habitat for northern 
leopard frog in the region. Lower elevation riparian areas within the study area may provide 
suitable habitat for northern leopard frog. 

3.9.3 Environmental Consequences 

3.9.3.1 Summary 

The construction of various borehole, shaft, and access road facilities would create 
approximately 33.5 acres of new surface disturbance in currently undisturbed areas of 
vegetation communities/wildlife habitats. The principal wildlife habitats to be affected would be 
oak and aspen habitats. Potential effects to species of concern are greatest with loss of aspen, 
Douglas-fir, and cottonwood habitats, but most of these potential impacts can be avoided with 
the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures. Impacts to sensitive wetlands and 
riparian habitat as well as to potential breeding habitat for boreal toad and tiger salamander 
would occur if there was construction of a drill site access road along Hubbard Creek to drill site 
IP99-7. There is a Forest Service stipulation that precludes road and pad construction in 
riparian areas or wetlands. Indirect impacts would include the surface effects of subsidence 
(mainly the creation of surface cracks), a potential increase in train and vehicle collisions with 
wintering mule deer and elk, and potential changes in bald eagle winter habitat resulting from 
flow any reductions in the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 

3.9.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action). 

With this alternative, the coal lease tracts would not be offered for lease, and there would be no 
exploration drilling within the Iron Point Exploration License area. Wildlife resources in the 
lease areas would essentially remain in the existing condition. As a result, wildlife habitat 
distribution, extent, and condition as well as wildlife populations would remain similar to existing 
conditions, assuming there are no major alterations in current land use activities. Wildlife 
habitats within the study area would continue to be subject to low levels of use in the form of 
recreation, grazing, logging, and other incidental activities such as firewood harvesting. There 
would be approximately 15 acres of new disturbance on Oxbow's fee property associated with 
development of the Elk Creek portal facilities. Most of this disturbance would be in oak brush 
habitat, but small amounts of cottonwood habitat in Elk Creek would also be lost to this 
development. These habitat losses would be small, next to an existing roadway, and are 
unlikely to have any measurable effect on existing wildlife populations. No active raptor nest 
sites or other sensitive habitat features would be affected by development of the Elk Creek 
portal facilities. 

Traffic leveis associated with mine personnel, train transport of coal, and truck transport of coal 
would remain the same, and the risk of vehicle/deer and elk collisions along State Highway 133 
would remain the same. The conveyor planned to carry coal from the Bowie No. 2 portal area 
to the old State Highway 133 has the potential to disrupt mule deer and elk movement through 
winter range in this area unless properly designed underpasses are constructed at appropriate 
intervals along the length of the conveyor. 






North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-138 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.9.3.3 Direct and Indirect Effects Common to All Alternatives 

An estimated 33.5 acres is proposed to be disturbed by borehole, shaft, and access road 
construction under all action alternatives. Disturbance to existing vegetation 
communities/wildlife habitats from these activities was estimated to be: 23.1 acres in oak 
brush, 6.4 acres in aspen, 2.7 acres in grass/forb, and 1 .3 acres in Cottonwood or Douglas-fir 
habitats. 

None of these disturbances would be in elk or mule deer severe winter range and winter 
concentration areas or in known elk production areas, and these relatively small amounts of 
habitat disturbance in summer and winter range are unlikely to have any measurable effect on 
local elk and mule deer populations. Standard Forest Service stipulations regarding timing 
restrictions for surface disturbance and occupancy in elk winter range would eliminate any 
potential risk of indirect impacts to wintering elk from human presence. BLM also has a timing 
restriction as described in Unsuitability 1 5 in Appendix C, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Iron 
Point Coal Lease Tract, and Appendix D, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tract. Minor habitat losses would also have minimal effect on wide-ranging species such as 
mountain lion and black bear. 

With respect to threatened, endangered and other species of concern, no important or critical 
habitats of bald eagle and peregrine falcon would be directly affected by these surface 
disturbances. Southwestern willow flycatcher, boreal toad, northern leopard frog, and tiger 
salamander are dependent on aquatic and or wetland areas, and no surface disturbances are 
proposed in these areas. In addition, standard Forest Service stipulations would prohibit 
disturbance to these habitats including riparian areas. However, based on a field review of the 
proposed access road corridor to drill site IP99-7 in the Iron Point Exploration License area, it 
would be impossible to construct this road without impacting the riparian corridor along Hubbard 
Creek and also possibly wetlands along the creek bank. In many areas, the old degraded road 
bed is within the existing riparian corridor or is immediately adjacent to the creek bank. In 
addition, areas of unstable slopes have slumped across the old road bed and into the creek. 
Suitable habitat for southwestern willow flycatcher, boreal toad, and northern leopard frog is not 
present along this stretch of the creek, but potential breeding sites for tiger salamander may be 
present, and road building activities could adversely affect these areas. 

Dust control measures, increases in potable water consumption, and potential mine-related 
dewatering reductions in flow to Hubbard Creek would reduce flow by 35 to 355 acre-feet per 
year in the North Fork of the Gunnison River and could have an effect in fisheries in this river, 
especially during the winter months. Reductions in winter flows could also have an effect on 
the extent of ice free portions of the river. These indirect impacts could alter the suitability of 
the North Fork Gunnison River as a winter concentration area for bald eagles. 

Access roads or drill sites to be constructed in aspen, cottonwood, and Douglas-fir habitats 
create a potential impact risk to nest sites of forest nesting raptors such as northern goshawk, 
Cooper's hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, great horned owl, northern pygmy owl, long-eared owl, 
northern saw-whet owl, and flammulated owl. Nest sites of forested associated raptors could 
be impacted by direct loss or indirectly by adjacent human disturbance during the nesting 
season. Clearing of trees for construction could also result in the loss of snags that provide 
possible cavity nest sites for owls and important foraging and nesting sites for three-toed 
woodpecker. Snags also represent potential preferred perch sites for olive-sided flycatcher at 
forest edges. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-139 

There would be no disturbance of important habitats for spotted bat, Townsend's big-eared bat, 
and fringed myotis. Caves, old mines, and areas of rock outcrop suitable for roost, hibernation' 
or maternity sites for these species would not be affected by the proposed surface 
disturbances. There would also be no disturbance of potential nesting habitat (cliffs near 
waterfalls) for black swift. 

There could be losses of potential habitat areas used by loggerhead shrike (oak brush) and 
golden-crowned kinglet (mature Douglas-fir stands), but these losses would be relatively minor. 
Individual birds could be affected by these losses, but minor habitat reductions would be 
unlikely to have any measurable effect on local populations. 

The primary indirect impact that could affect local big game populations is the potential for an 
increase in vehicle and train killed mule deer and elk due to increased levels of employee traffic 
and coal transport (both train and truck) through elk and mule deer severe winter range and 
winter concentration areas along State Highway 133 and the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 
Based on conversations with Kirk Madariaga, District Wildlife Manager, Colorado Division of 
Wildlife (pers. comm. 1999), it could be expected that the number of vehicle and train/big game 
collisions would increase proportionately with the level of increase in train and passenger 
vehicle trips but not coal truck trips. His observations indicate that most road-killed deer and elk 
are killed in early winter by passenger vehicles and not by coal trucks, and the number of 
collisions drops off abruptly as winter progresses. He hypothesized that there were fewer 
collisions with coal trucks because coal truck drivers are more familiar with areas where mule 
deer and elk concentrate, and therefore, are better prepared to avoid collisions. According to 
Madariaga, approximately 5 to 10 elk and 20 to 30 mule deer are killed per year along Highway 
1 33 in the general vicinity of the two mine operations. He also indicated that coal trains kill 
mule deer and elk, and in possibly higher numbers than those killed along the highway, since 
wintering elk and deer tend to concentrate more in areas along the railroad right-of-way. 
However, he had no personal documentation to substantiate the number of train/big game 
collisions. 

3.9.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 

Direct impacts to wildlife habitats would be consistent for all alternatives. The only potential 
indirect impact that could vary with the different alternatives is subsidence. As noted in Section 
3.4, Soils, the effect of subsidence would manifest itself as cracks forming on the earth's 
surface followed by a settling of the ground elevation as the geologic strata cave, at depth, 
behind the advancing long-wall operation. Some cracks, devoid of vegetation, would remain on 
the surface at the conclusion of mining. The extent of wildlife habitat which would be affected 
by cracking cannot be calculated but would likely be minimal considering the potential acreage 
involved and the natural ability of these cracks erode, seal, and eventually revegetate. It is 
unlikely that a measurable acreage of wildlife habitat would be lost given these considerations. 

Subsidence also has the potential to disrupt springs or other sources of surface water, thereby 
affecting important wetland and riparian habitats as well as watering areas for wildlife. 
However, if there is disruption of surface water sources, Forest Service standard stipulations 
would require the mine operator to replace this loss with water from an alternate source in 
sufficient quantity to maintain existing riparian habitat and wildlife use. Therefore, there should 
be no long-term adverse impacts to wildlife or wildlife habitat from disruption of surface water 
sources. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-140 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.9.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 

The effects of this alternative would be similar to Alternative B except for the indirect effects of 
subsidence. The effects of subsidence under Alternative C would be greater than under 
Alternative B given the adoption of multi-seam mining activities and the larger lease acreage 
involved. With multi-seam mining, the depth to which geologic strata cave behind the 
advancing mining operation would be greater. Given that the lease area under Alternative C is 
approximately 1 percent greater than under Alternative B, a comparatively larger acreage 
would be subject to the effects of subsidence. 

3.9.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 

Alternative D is identical to Alternative C except that subsidence would not be permitted under 
specific features such as Terror Creek, Hubbard Creek, or the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV 
electric transmission line. Effects on riparian habitat in Terror and Hubbard Creeks would not 
occur. As a result, the effects on existing wildlife habitats and populations would be the same 
only over a slightly smaller lease area. There would also be less risk of disruption of surface 
water sources and associated riparian habitats and wildlife watering areas. 

3.9.4 Cumulative Impacts 

Approximately 33.5 acres of wildlife habitat would be affected by surface disturbances on the 
lease and exploration areas. Seventy acres of previous disturbances are associated with the 
existing Bowie No. 2 Mine and approximately 95 acres have been disturbed at Oxbow's 
Sanborn Creek Mine. Approximately 10 to 15 acres and 15 acres of additional disturbances are 
planned at these two mining operations, respectively. The acreage of wildlife habitat that would 
be directly affected within the cumulative effects area by any action alternative represents a 
relatively minor short-term increase in lost habitat. The acreage of wildlife habitat affected by 
subsidence would not measurably increase habitat loss. 

Human population increases in the region due to expanded and continued mining, as well as to 
expected general population increases unrelated to mining, would create increases in human 
recreational activities, including hunting. Increased recreational use of public lands would place 
additional human disturbance pressures on wildlife populations as well as increase hunting 
pressure on big game populations. The magnitude of these effects on regional wildlife 
populations is impossible to predict. 

3.9.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

Aside from standard Forest Service stipulations imposed to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat 
and BLM unsuitability criteria, only two additional mitigation measures are proposed to protect 
habitat for wildlife species of concern. For any construction activities in forested habitats of 
aspen, Douglas-fir, and cottonwood, these areas should be surveyed for evidence of raptor 
nesting activity prior to construction. If any nest sites are located, the timing and/or the location 
of construction should be modified to preclude any impacts to raptor nest sites. This mitigation 
would be effective in minimizing or preventing impacts to breeding pairs of raptors and their 
fledglings. 

Since snags, and especially large snags, provide potential nest sites for cavity nesting owls, 
foraging and nest sites for three-toed woodpecker, and perch sites for olive-sided flycatcher, all 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-141 

proposed development sites in forested habitats should be surveyed for the presence of snags. 
If any snags are located, the locations of surface disturbance should be modified to the extent 
necessary to avoid the loss of snags. This mitigation would be effective in protecting potential 
nest sites for previously-mentioned species. 

3.10 AQUATIC RESOURCES/FISHERIES 

Issue: Minimize disturbance to fish habitat and fish populations. Areas of concern include: 
direct disturbance of stream channels; reduced flow; stream sedimentation; water quality 
degradation; and impacts to threatened and endangered aquatic species. 

3.10.1 Introduction 

Fisheries and aquatic habitat information are discussed for streams, reservoirs, and ditches that 
are located within and surrounding the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts and the Iron 
Point Exploration License area. Information was obtained by reviewing available literature and 
conducting a field reconnaissance on May 17 and 18, 1999. Water bodies that are located 
within or immediately adjacent to the study areas include Elk Creek, Bear Creek, Hubbard 
Creek, Alder Creek, Terror Creek, West Fork Terror Creek, Terror Creek Reservoir, and several 
irrigation ditches. Three of the streams (Hubbard, Terror, and West Fork Terror Creeks) are 
perennial streams that contain flows throughout the year. These streams support trout species 
and special concern fish species. Elk, Bear, and Alder Creeks are intermittent streams that do 
not contain year-round habitat for aquatic species. 

Fisheries and aquatic information also is discussed for the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
and the Gunnison River. These streams contain important game fish species and federally 
endangered and special concern fish species. 

3.10.2 Affected Environment 

3.10.2.1 North Fork of the Gunnison River 

The mainstem section of the North Fork Gunnison of the River is classified as Class I Cold 
Water Aquatic Life by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This 
classification is defined as " . . . waters that (1) currently are capable of sustaining a wide 
variety of cold water biota, including sensitive species, or (2) could sustain such biota but for 
correctable water quality conditions" (CDPH, 1999). Game fish species present in the river 
include rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout (Hebein, 1 999). Rainbow, 
brown, and cutthroat trout were stocked in the river from 1973 through 1995. Based on surveys 
conducted by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, low to average numbers of trout were collected. 
Rainbow trout and brown trout usually represent the most abundant game fish species. Other 
game fish species such as northern pike and green sunfish sporadically occur in low numbers 
(Hebein, 1999). These species likely originate from Paonia Reservoir. Native species collected 
in the river consisted of roundtail chub, bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, speckled dace, 
longnose dace, and mottled sculpin (see Table 3. 10-1, Fish Species Occurrence Within the 
Project Study Area Streams). 

Adequate habitat and water quality conditions are available in the North Fork of the Gunnison 
River to support trout populations. The general types of habitat present in the river below 
Hubbard and Terror creeks include a mixture of long runs and smaller riffles and pools. In 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-142 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



TABLE 3.10-1 
Fish Species Occurrence Within the Project Study Area Streams 


Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 1 


North Fork 
Gunnison River 


o 

■p 
ffl 

£ 


4g 
CD 

6 

o 

i_ 
CD 


West Fork & East 
Fork Terror Creek 


CD 
> 

EC 

c 
o 

w 

C 

c 

3 

es 


Trout 


Salmonidae 














Cutthroat trout 


Oncorhynchus clarki 


G 


X 


X 


X 


X 




Rainbow trout 


Oncorhynchus mykiss 


G 


X 


X 






X 


Brawn trout 


Salmo trutta 


G 


X 


X 






X 


Brook trout 


Salvelinus fontinaiis 


G 


X 


X 




R 3 




Pike 


Esocidae 












X 


Northern pike 


Esoc lucius 


G 


X 










Carp/Minnows 


Cyprinidae 














Humpback chub 


Gila cypha 


FE, SE 










X 


Bonytail 4 


Gila elegans 


FE, SE 












Roundtail chub 


Gila robusta 


SSC; BLM SC 


X 


P 3 








Red shiner 


Cyprinella lutrensis 


NG 










X 


Carp 


Cyprinus carpio 


NG 










X 


Sand shiner 


Notropis stramineus 


NG 










X 


Flathead minnow 


Pimephales promelas 


NG 










X 


Colorado pikeminnow 


Ptychocheilus lucius 


FE, SE 










X 


Longnose dace 


Rhinichthys cataractae 


NNG 


X 










Razorback sucker 


Fthinichthys osculus 


NNG 


X 


X 


X 


X 


X 


Suckers 


Catostomidae 














White sucker 


Catostomus cornmersoni 


NG 


X 


X 






X 


Bluehead sucker 


Catostomus discobolus 


SSC; BLM SC 


X 


X 






X 


Flannelmouth sucker 


Catostomus latipinnis 


SSC; BLM SC 


X 








X 


Razorback sucker 


Xyrauchen texanus 


FE, SE 










X 


Catfishes 


Centrarchidae 














Black bullhead 


Ameirius melas 


G 










X 


Channel catfish 


Ictalurus punctatus 


G 










X 


Sunfishes 


Centrarchidae 














Green sunfish 


Lepomis cyanellus 


G 


X 








X 


Smallmouth bass 


Micropterus dolomieui 


G 










X 


Largemouth bass 


Micropterus salmoides 


G 










X 


Sculpins 


Cottidae 














Mottled sculpin 


Cottus bairdi 


NNG 


X 


X 


P 3 




X 


1 Status: G = game fish; NG = introduced nongame; NNG = native nongame; FE = federally endangered; 
SE = Colorado endangered; SSC = Colorado special concern; and BLM SC = BLM special concern. 

2 These are the most abundant species; refer to Burdick (1 995) for a list of other species in the river. 

3 P = Potential occurrence based on habitat. 

4 Bonytail does not occur in the Gunnison River, but it is present (rare) in the Colorado River. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-143 

wider sections of the river, the channel is braided with islands and side-channels. Fish cover is 
provided mainly by instream substrate and other structures. Factors that limit the quality of 
aquatic habitat include low summer flows due to irrigation diversions, return irrigation flows, 
siltation, general lack of cover, and livestock disturbance (Hebein, 1999). 

3.10.2.2 Tributaries 

The following information summarizes aquatic habitat and fisheries in project area tributaries. 
Two drainages, Hubbard and Terror Creek, both support trout populations. Three intermittent 
streams (Elk, Bear, and Alder creeks) do not contain game fish species or threatened, 
endangered, or special concern species. Trout and native fish species occur seasonally in 
Terror Creek Reservoir and the irrigation ditches (Terror Creek and Overland). However, 
drawdown in Terror Creek Reservoir in the summer restricts year-round habitat for fish. Based 
on discussions with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Forest Service, no 
macroinvertebrate surveys have been conducted in the tributaries. 

Habitat conditions in Hubbard Creek are largely determined by gradient and channel 
configuration. In the lower two miles (i.e., above the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
confluence), the stream flows through canyon areas with moderately steep gradient. Riffles 
and runs represent the dominant types of habitat along with small side-pools. Boulders and 
cobbles are the predominant substrates. Fish cover is provided by instream substrate and 
organic debris (logs, tree limbs) and overhanging riparian vegetation. At an elevation of 
approximately 6,200 feet, the stream is characterized by lower gradient and a wider, 
meandering channel. A series of beaver ponds are located about 2,000 feet downstream of the 
historic (now abandoned) Blue Ribbon Mine area. Above the beaver ponds, the channel 
contains a more diverse mixture of pools, riffles, and runs. Higher quality habitat for fish is 
present in the form of undercut banks, instream substrate, and overhanging willows. Colorado 
Division of Wildlife indicated that stream reaches below 9,800 feet and gradients less than 3 
percent are the most productive trout habitat (Forest Service, 1986). 

Habitat conditions at most of the proposed exploration drill sites mainly reflect a steeper 
gradient stream, as shown in 3. 10-2, Summary of Aquatic Habitat Conditions at Proposed 
Exploration Drill Sites Near Hubbard Creek. Drill Site IP99-22, which is located in the upper 
portion of Hubbard Creek, was not accessible. However, gradient in this area was less than 
IP99-23 through IP99-27. Some factors that limit aquatic habitat in Hubbard Creek include 
erosion, excessive siltation, and water diversion for irrigation. 

Two instream flow recommendations were appropriated for Hubbard Creek in 1984 by the 
Colorado Water Conservation Board: 4 cubic feet per second (cfs) in an 8.1 -mile segment in 
the headwaters and 3 cfs in a 2.5-mile segment in T2S, R91W, Sections 14, 23, 26, and 35. 
The purpose of the recommendations was "to preserve the natural environment to a reasonable 
degree" (Colorado Water Conservation Board, 1984). 

Hubbard Creek provides habitat for trout and native fish species. Trout species present in the 
stream include rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat (Wang, 1998; Colorado Division of Wildlife, 
1978). The Colorado Division of Wildlife stocked several varieties of cutthroat trout and rainbow 
trout between 1973 and 1996. Although Colorado River cutthroat trout were included in some 
of these stocking efforts, interbreeding with other cutthroat varieties has resulted in no pure 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-144 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.10-2 

Summary of Aquatic Habitat Conditions at Proposed 

Exploration Drill Sites Near Hubbard Creek 


Drill Site 
Numbers 


Gradient 


General Type of Habitat 


Fish Cover 


IP99-23 - IP99-27 


Moderately steep 


Riffles and runs with small side 
pools; boulders and cobbles 


Instream substrate, 
overhanging willows 


IP99-7 


Low gradient 


Long pool with silt-dominated 
substrate 


Depth 


Downstream of 
IP99-7 


Moderately steep 


Riffles and runs with moderately 
large side pools; boulders and 
cobbles 


Instream substrate, 
overhanging willows 
instream debris (logs) 



strains being present. Other fish species inhabiting Hubbard Creek include bluehead sucker, 
speckled dace, white sucker, and mottled sculpin (BLM, 1998; Colorado Division of Wildlife, 
1 978). West Fork Hubbard Creek contains the same trout and native fish species. 

The Terror Creek drainage (East Fork Terror, West Fork Terror, and Terror creeks) is 
characterized as moderately steep with gradients ranging from approximately 5 to13 percent. 
Within the project study area, elevations vary from approximately 6,700 to 7,800 feet. Stream 
widths vary from 5 to 20 feet with boulder-dominated substrates in most segments. Cobbles 
and gravel substrates are also present. Cascading riffles, short runs, and relatively small pools 
are the types of general habitat. Fish cover is provided by overhanging riparian vegetation, 
instream substrates, and organic debris. The Colorado Division of Wildlife rated fish habitat in 
East Fork Terror Creek as poor and West Fork Terror Creek as average. Limiting factors for 
fisheries in the drainage include siltation, erosive soils, and lack of water during the summer 
through winter period (Colorado Division of Wildlife, 1978). 

Based on limited sampling in West Fork Terror and East Fork Terror creeks, fish species in the 
drainage consist of cutthroat trout and speckled dace. The lower portion of Terror Creek near 
the confluence with the North Fork of the Gunnison River may also support species such as 
longnose dace, mottled sculpin, flannelmouth sucker, and bluehead sucker. Cutthroat trout 
were stocked in Terror Creek in 1982 and 1988 through 1996. The upper portions of the 
drainage also may contain brook trout, as this species was observed in Terror Creek Reservoir 
(Rudin, 1999). 

3.10.2.3 Gunnison River 

The 75-mile section of the Gunnison River between its confluences with the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River and Colorado River is classified by the Colorado Department of Public Health 
and Environment (1 999) as Class I Cold Water Aquatic Life. However, recent fish surveys in 
the Gunnison River indicated a cold water fishery in the upper portion of this segment and a 
warm water fishery in the lower portion (Burdick, 1995). After constructing the Aspinall Unit, the 
transition zone from cold water fish species to warm water species was determined to be 
between the confluence with the North Fork of the Gunnison River, River Mile (RM) 75 and 
Drysdale Flats (RM 67). The warm water fishery was dominated by native fish species. In 
1992 and 1993, approximately 79 percent of the total catch was comprised of native species, 
largely due to bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, and roundtail chub (Burdick, 1995). Carp 
and white sucker were the most frequently encountered non-native species by comprising 7 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-145 

and 6 percent of the total catch, respectively. Numerous minnow species such as red shiner, 
sand shiner, fathead minnow, and speckled dace also were collected in seining surveys. 
Rainbow trout and brown trout, which individually comprised approximately 2 to 3 percent of the 
total catch, were the most abundant game fish species. The highest trout numbers were 
collected between RM 60 and 75. Other game fish species that individually comprised less 
than 1 percent of the total catch included northern pike, black bullhead, channel catfish, green 
sunfish, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass. 

Relatively diverse aquatic habitat conditions are found in the Gunnison River between the North 
Fork of the Gunnison River and Colorado River confluences. From the North Fork confluence 
(RM 75) to Drysdaie Flats (RM 67), the river flows through a wide canyon. An extensive 
floodplain occurs from RM 67 downstream to Roubideau Creek (RM 50), which contain a 
variety of habitats such as braided channels, vegetated islands, long runs, riffles, and 
backwaters (Burdick, 1995). From RM 50 to Whitewater (RM 15), the river flows through 
narrow canyon areas. A mixture of moderate velocity riffles, quiet shorelines, and slow runs are 
found between Whitewater and the Redlands Diversion Dam (RM 3). A canyon area exists just 
above the Rediands Diversion Dam. Restoration activities in the Gunnison River have involved 
the construction of the fish passageway at the Redlands Diversion Dam, flow 
recommendations, and restoration of wetland habitats adjacent to the river (Burdick, 1995). 

3.10.2.4 Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species 

Four federally endangered fish species occur in river segments located downstream of the coal 
lease tracts: Colorado pikeminnow (squawfish), razorback sucker, humpback chub, and 
bonytail. Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker presently occur in the Gunnison River. 
Three special concern species (Colorado and BLM) also are present in downstream areas: 
bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, and roundtail chub. Although Colorado River cutthroat 
trout (Oncorhynchus clarki pleuriticus), (Forest Service sensitive and Colorado special concern 
species) were previously stocked in Hubbard and Terror Creeks, the populations are not 
considered pure strains (see Section 3.10.2.2, Tributaries). The following information 
summarizes the distribution, critical habitat designations, habitat use, and spawning periods for 
these species except Colorado River cutthroat trout. 

Colorado Pikeminnow - Downstream river segments inhabited by Colorado pikeminnow 
include the Gunnison and Colorado rivers. In the Gunnison River, the present distribution 
includes the lower 30 to 40 miles. The upper distribution is between Bridgeport at RM 30 and 
the Escalante Bridge (RM 41.9) (Burdick, 1999). Between 1918 and the spring of 1996, this 
species was limited to the lower 3 miles of the Gunnison River because of the Redlands 
Diversion Dam (RM 3). In June 1996, a fish ladder was constructed at the Redlands Diversion 
Dam, which allowed fish to move upstream of the dam. This species also is found in the 
mainstem portion of the Colorado River near Palisade, Colorado downstream to Lake Powell 
(USFWS, 1994). Six critical habitat reaches have been designated for this species in the 
Colorado River drainage (USFWS, 1994). Two reaches are located downstream of the coal 
lease tracts: (1) Gunnison River and its 100-year floodplain from its confluences with the 
Uncompahgre and Colorado Rivers; and (2) Colorado River and its 1 00-year floodplain from the 
Colorado Bridge at exit 90 north of Interstate 70 (RM 238) downstream to the Dirty Devil arm of 
Lake Powell. 

Habitat requirements of Colorado pikeminnow depend upon the life stage and time of year. 
Young-of-the-year (YOY) and juveniles prefer shallow backwaters, while adults prefer pools, 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-146 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

eddies, and deep runs (Miller et al., 1 982). Adults seem to prefer depths of about 2 to 7 feet, 
velocities of to 0.2 feet per second, and boulder/silt substrates (Valdez et al., 1982). 
Juveniles and YOY are usually found over silt or sand bottoms with minimal current (Tyus et al., 
1982). During peak runoff in the spring and early summer, fish usually move into backwater 
areas of flooded riparian zones to avoid swift velocities, feed, and prepare for the upcoming 
spawning period (Valdez and Wick, 1983). As adults mature, they become highly mobile during 
the spawning period, which occurs after peak runoff from mid-June to mid-August. Larvae drift 
downstream from spawning sites beginning in late June and continue until late August. 

Razorback Sucker - The Gunnison and Colorado rivers represent the closest downstream 
rivers inhabited by razorback sucker. In the Gunnison River, wild razorback sucker are thought 
to be extirpated (Burdick and Bonar, 1997). As a result, approximately 4,938 juvenile and 
sub-adults have been stocked between October 1995 and October 1998 (Pfeifer and Burdick, 
1998). The stocking program has extended the distribution in the Gunnison River from the 
Hartland Diversion Dam at RM 60 downstream to the confluence with the Colorado River. 
Razorback sucker also are found at scattered locations in the Colorado River. Critical habitat 
has been designated for 15 reaches in the Colorado River Basin. The closest downstream 
reaches in relation to the coal lease tracts include (1) Gunnison River and its 100-year 
floodplain from its confluences with the Uncompahgre River to the Redlands Diversion Dam; 
and (2) Colorado River and its 100-year floodplain from the Colorado Bridge at exit 90 north of 
Interstate 70 (RM 238) downstream to Westwater Canyon (USFWS, 1994). 

Habitat requirements for razorback sucker reflect both riverine and reservoir environments. 
General habitats used by adults include eddies, pools, and backwaters during the non-breeding 
period (July through March) (Maddux et al., 1993). Osmundson and Kaeding (1991) 
summarized seasonal habitat use as follows: pools and eddies from November through April, 
runs and pools from July through October, runs and backwaters in May, and backwaters and 
flooded gravel pits during June. Juveniles seem to prefer shallow water and minimal flow in 
backwaters, tributary mouths, off-channel impoundments, and lateral canals (Maddux et al., 
1993). The spawning period for razorback suckers in the Upper Colorado River Basin usually 
occurs in April through mid-June. However, limited spawning has been documented for this 
species in the Upper Colorado River basin. 

Humpback Chub - The occurrence of humpback chub is limited to one known recent record in 
the Gunnison River and river canyon sections in the Colorado River. One humpback chub was 
captured in a canyon-reach of the Gunnison River in 1993 (Burdick, 1995). In the Upper 
Colorado River, this species is found in the Black Rocks and Westwater Canyon reaches near 
the Colorado-Utah state line, Professor Valley near Moab, and Cataract Canyon near Lake 
Powell (Maddux et al., 1993). Seven critical habitat designations exist within the Colorado River 
Basin. Of these reaches, two are located downstream of the Bowie and Oxbow mines in the 
Upper Colorado River: (1) Black Rocks to Fish Ford River; and (2) Brown Betty Rapid to 
Imperial Canyon just upstream of Lake Powell (USFWS, 1994). 

Humpback chub are mainly found in river canyons, where they utilize a variety of habitats. In 
general, they prefer deep pools (about 25 to 65 feet deep), eddies, and upwells near boulders, 
steep dropoff cliff faces, and sand/gravel bars near boulders (Maddux et al., 1993). YOY chubs 
usually are found in backwaters and quiet pockets of water on rock benches or along steep rock 
walls (Valdez and Clemmer, 1982). Juveniles occur in backwaters, eddies, and runs, with low 
velocities and sand, silt, or boulder substrates (Valdez et al., 1982). Spawning occurs in May 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-147 

through July after the peak spring flows at water temperatures ranging from about 50° to 68° F 
(Maddux et al., 1993). 

Bonytail - The bonytail is considered to be the rarest of the four Colorado River federally 
endangered fish species. Since intensive sampling began in 1977, only a few individuals have 
been collected in the Upper Colorado River Basin. In the mainstem portion of the Upper 
Colorado River, one to five individuals were collected in the Black Rocks area, Cataract Canyon 
about 20 miles upstream of Lake Powell, and Lake Powell (Kaeding et al., 1986; Maddux et al., 
1993). No bonytail have been collected in the Gunnison River. 

The general types of habitat used by bonytail include mainstem river and impoundments on the 
Colorado River. Collection sites for this species in the Upper Colorado River Basin were 
characterized as deep pools and eddies with slow or fast currents (Kaeding et al., 1986). 
Substrates at the collection sites consisted of silt, silt-boulder, and boulders (Vanicek and 
Kramer, 1969). Limited information is available concerning spawning requirements for this 
species. It is assumed that spawning occurs in June or July, based on studies in the Green 
River. 

Flannelmouth Sucker and Bluehead Sucker - These native suckers occur in the North Fork 
Gunnison, Gunnison, and Colorado Rivers. Both species are found in a variety of habitats that 
include riffles, pools, runs, and backwater areas in larger streams and rivers (Sublette et al., 
1990). In most instances, the streams have minimal vegetation, moderate to high turbidities, 
and high spring flows. Depths usually range from 1 to 6 feet, with substrates consisting of 
rocks, gravel, or mud (Sigler and Miller, 1963). Spawning occurs in the spring or early summer 
at lower elevations and in summer at higher elevations. 

Roundtail Chub - This species also occurs in the North Fork of the Gunnison River, Gunnison, 
and Colorado Rivers. Roundtail chub inhabits pools, eddies, runs, and riffles in moderate to 
large rivers (Karp and Tyus, 1990; Sublette et al., 1990). Adults prefer pools associated with 
undercut banks and other types of cover, while young fish occur in shallower water with lower 
flows. All age groups prefer cobble-rubble, sand-cobble, or sand-gravel substrates (Sublette et 
al., 1990). Runs and riffles are used primarily during feeding periods. Spawning occurs in the 
spring and early summer when water temperatures are approximately 68° F (Sublette et al., 
1990). 

3.10.3 Environmental Consequences 
3.10.3.1 Summary 

Short-term, local increases in turbidity and suspended sediments could occur during exploration 
activities adjacent to Hubbard Creek and Terror Creek, and if access roads are constructed for 
mining both the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. These short-term increases in 
sediment yield could result in short-term effects on aquatic species and their habitat. Sediment 
concentrations would stabilize and return to typical background concentrations after the 
construction activities are completed. By implementing proper drainage and detention 
structures, the impact of increased sediment levels on aquatic species and their habitat would 
be low. Any localized increases in sediment would not affect downstream areas in the 
Gunnison and Colorado rivers that are inhabited by four federally endangered fish species. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-148 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

The use of water for mining activities, dust control, and domestic purposes would result in a 
relatively small depletion of water from Terror Creek, Hubbard Creek, and the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River. Water would be provided from existing sources. The estimated withdrawal of 
water would result in total reductions less than 1 cfs. This small depletion would represent a 
relatively small reduction in habitat for fish and benthic macroinvertebrate species. This 
depletion would be even smaller in the sections of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers that are 
inhabited by four federally endangered fish species. 

Mine dewatering also could result in reduced flows in the middle and lower portions of Hubbard 
Creek (near and downstream of the historic Blue Ribbon Mine). The estimated volume of water 
removed from the Hubbard Creek drainage due to underground mining could range from 
approximately 35 to 355 acre-feet per year, with an average of 1 95 acre-feet per year. These 
volumes would represent approximately 0.1 to 14 percent reductions in the base flow conditions 
in Hubbard Creek. Impacts associated with this depletion would be reduced habitat for fish and 
macroinvertebrate communities in Hubbard Creek. A relatively small depletion also would 
occur in the North Fork of the Gunnison and Gunnison rivers. Special concern fish species are 
present in both rivers, while two federally endangered fish species occur in the Gunnison River. 

Actual water depletion estimates would be made during the mine permitting and mining plan 
decision processes with Colorado DMG and OSM. Final consultation with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service would occur at that time. 

Mining operations for both coal leases would result in increased discharges to the North Fork of 
the Gunnison River. However, since all discharges must meet federal and Colorado 
Department of Public Health and Environment regulations, no adverse effects on aquatic 
species are anticipated due to the quality of the discharge water. 

The use and transport of fuels to the exploration sites and mining operations would represent a 
risk to aquatic species and their habitat, if a spill or accident occurred. By implementing a 
mitigation measure that would restrict the use of fuels near streams, water bodies and their 
associated biological communities would be protected. The risk of a fuel spill or leak reaching 
the North Fork of the Gunnison River, Hubbard Creek, or Terror Creek during transport is 
considered extremely low, based on the expected low frequency of traffic. 

Cumulative impacts may occur in the study area due to other coal exploration and mining 
activities, highway upgrade construction, agriculture, and logging. Potential cumulative impacts 
would consist of short-term, localized increases in sediment and additional water depletions 
(primarily related to agricultural operations). The extent of the sedimentation impacts would 
depend upon the effectiveness of the sediment control practices, presence of drainages near 
the construction area, and distance to perennial streams. 

3.1 0.3.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

Under the No-Action Alternative, present mining operations would continue for the existing 
Bowie and Oxbow properties. Short-term, local increases in turbidity and suspended sediments 
would occur in the vicinity of new surface disturbance areas, which include a new conveyor belt 
and coal storage loadout area for the Bowie No. 2 Mine and construction of the Elk Creek portal 
on private land for the Oxbow property. The closest drainages in relation to the new 
disturbance areas include Elk Creek for the Oxbow property and the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River for the Bowie No. 2 property. The North Fork of the Gunnison River contains 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






September 1999 Chapter 3 p age 3-149 

both game and non-game fish species, while the intermittent Elk Creek does not support a 
fishery. By implementing required erosion and sediment control measures, the potential effects 
of any increases in sedimentation would be considered minor. Any localized increases in 
sediment would not affect water quality in the Gunnison River, which is inhabited by two 
federally endangered fish species, Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker. 

The continued operations of both properties would require water for domestic use, and 
underground and surface dust control. The total estimated water use for each mine operation 
would be an average of 65 to 66 acre-feet per year for the Bowie property and 156 to 197 
acre-feet per year for the Oxbow property. A portion of the Oxbow use is discharged to the 
North Fork of the Gunnison River under an existing NPDES permit. These volumes represent a 
total of less than 0.5 cfs for both the Bowie and Oxbow operations. Existing water sources 
would be used. 

Mine water would continue to be discharged for both operations at the present levels. No 
additional sedimentation ponds or new discharge points would be required. By meeting the 
required NPDES water quality standards, no adverse impacts to water quality or aquatic 
species and their habitat would occur, as a result of the No-Action Alternative. 

3.10.3.3 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 

Direct Effects - The potential effects of the action alternatives on aquatic resources are closely 
related to impacts on surface water and groundwater resources, which are discussed in Section 
3.5.3, Surface Water, and Section 3.6.3, Groundwater. Direct impacts to aquatic resources 
could result from four factors: changes in water quality, water withdrawals, mine dewatering, 
and physical habitat disturbance. The following information describes potential impacts on 
aquatic resources that are common to all action alternatives. Differences in potential effects on 
aquatic resources are discussed separately for each alternative. 

Water would be used for exploration, underground and surface dust control, and domestic 
purposes for all alternatives. The estimated range in total annual volumes of water for these 
uses include 3 to 6 acre-feet per year for exploration, 293 to 337 acre-feet per year for dust 
control, and 12 to 14 acre-feet per year for domestic purposes. The dust control and domestic 
water uses represent the total for mining operations conducted on both the Iron Point and Elk 
Creek Coal Lease Tracts. These water uses would be the same as discussed under the 
No-Action Alternative. The overall total volume would represent approximately less than 0.5 
cfs. These slight reductions in flow would result in a relatively small reduction in wetted habitat 
for fish and benthic macroinvertebrates in Terror and Hubbard creeks. The small magnitude of 
flow reduction would not be expected to affect spawning or rearing habitat for trout species in 
these creeks. An even smaller reduction in habitat would occur in the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River, which is inhabited by trout. Potential impacts on threatened, endangered, or 
special concern species are discussed at the end of this subsection. 

Mine dewatering for the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract also would result in reduced flows in the 
middle and lower portions of Hubbard Creek (near and downstream of the historic Blue Ribbon 
Mine), as discussed in Section 3.6.3, Groundwater. The estimated volume of water removed 
from the underground mine area would be an average of 195 acre-feet per year. This volume 
could result in flow reductions of approximately less than 1 cfs in Hubbard Creek. Impacts 
associated with this depletion would be reduced habitat for fish and macroinvertebrate 
communities. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-150 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

In relation to the instream flow recommendations that were appropriated for Hubbard Creek by 
the Colorado Water Conservation Board (i.e., 4 cfs in a 8.1 -mile segment in the headwaters and 
3 cfs in a 2.5-mile segment in T12S, R91W, Sections 14, 23, 26, and 35), water use for 
exploration could contribute an extremely small depletion (less than 0.05 cfs per week) to 
periods when baseline flows could be less than 3 cfs at the Lower Hubbard Creek segment. 
This would be a short-term impact that could occur for several months during two years. 
Sections of Hubbard Creek potentially affected by mine dewatering are located downstream of 
the 2.5-mile segment with a minimum instream flow recommendation. 

Potential water quality impacts from sedimentation and fuel or chemical spills could adversely 
affect aquatic resources. The impacts of fuels and other chemical spills depend on the volume 
spilled, proximity to the stream, time of year, flow conditions, physical characteristics of the 
streams; and the response and effectiveness of the cleanup and control techniques. The types 
of chemicals transported to the mine sites or stored at the sites include gasoline, diesel fuel, 
and small amounts of solvents and other miscellaneous chemicals. It is assumed that fuel 
would be transported by local suppliers, which would involve a transportation route along State 
Highways 92 and 133. Both highways are parallel to and cross the North Fork of the Gunnison 
River, although State Highway 133 is considerably closer to the river. 

Petroleum products exhibit both acute lethal toxicity (short-term) and long-term sublethal 
chronic effects on aquatic organisms. If a spill or leak entered a water body (Hubbard Creek, 
Terror Creek, or North Fork of the Gunnison River), aquatic organisms could be exposed to 
lethal conditions. Because the aromatic (most toxic) components of gasoline and diesel fuel 
would volatilize rapidly after being released, the period of exposure would be relatively short 
(Edgerton et al., 1987; Markarian et al., 1994). Previous biological studies conducted after 
gasoline and diesel fuel spills have shown that toxic conditions existed for periods ranging from 
several hours to several weeks, depending upon the factors listed above (Bury, 1972; Pontasch 
and Brusven, 1988; ENSR, 1989; and Green and Trett, 1989). As a result of the low 
persistence of gasoline and diesel fuel and high reproductive rates, macroinvertebrate 
communities typically recover within about 6 to 12 months. The recovery period for fish ranges 
from less than one year to about two years, depending upon impacts to early life stages (Green 
and Trett, 1989). A spill or leak during the spring or fall spawning and fry development periods 
for trout could potentially result in more severe impacts that could take several years for 
recovery. 

Potential effects of solvent or other chemical spills or leaks would not likely affect surface water 
and aquatic communities. These chemicals would be stored in areas located outside of any 
intermittent or perennial drainages. Although localized spills or leaks may occur, cleanup and 
containment would eliminate the risk of these chemicals entering surface waters that contain 
fish and invertebrate communities. 

In general, disturbance to aquatic habitat from construction of exhaust shafts, degasification 
boreholes, ventilation shaft, and access roads would be minor. In most instances, these 
construction areas are not located within intermittent or perennial drainages. One road crossing 
may be required on Bear Creek, an intermittent stream, which could result in short-term, 
temporary increases in sediment. Sediment increases in a localized area downstream of the 
crossing may cover substrates and reduce macroinvertebrate production. No game fish 
species occur in this stream. By implementing proper drainage and sediment control measures 
and timing the construction during a low flow period, the effects on macroinvertebrates would 
be considered minor. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-151 

Exploration activities would require construction of approximately 2 miles of new access roads 
and drilling operations at 26 boreholes. Vehicle traffic along existing roads adjacent to Terror 
and Hubbard Creeks could result in relatively small magnitude, short-term increases in 
sediment, as air-borne particles and surface soil are deposited in streams. The expected small 
relative increase in sediment levels from vehicle traffic would not likely affect macroinvertebrate 
and fish productivity. Although not anticipated, construction of a new road along Hubbard 
Creek to access drill hole IP99-7 would result in increased sediment to Hubbard Creek. This 
1.5 mile section of Hubbard Creek exhibits considerable slumping and erosion on the west side 
of the channel. Disturbance to the area adjacent to the creek could result in relatively large 
sediment increases that could affect macroinvertebrate and fish communities. Sediment could 
cover substrates used by macroinvertebrates and alter habitat used by trout for spawning and 
fry development. The accumulation of fine sediments adversely affects biotic communities by 
physically covering animals, reducing oxygen availability, reducing food, and eliminating 
spawning areas (Waters, 1995). 

Exploration activities also may require the construction of a sump pit for drilling fluids at each of 
the drill hole sites; however, most exploration would be conducted using a closed system. 
Spills or leaks from the sump pit could contribute sediment to the stream. Fluids in the sump 
pits consist of drilling muds and bentonite material. The effects of drilling muds on aquatic 
communities would be similar to sedimentation impacts. By adhering to proper design of the 
sump pits, spills or leaks of reserve pit fluids to adjacent streams would be minimized. If a spill 
or leak occurred, cleanup and containment procedures would be required to reduce impacts to 
surface water and aquatic communities and their habitat. After completing the exploration 
activities, each site would be reclaimed. The sump pits would be regraded and disturbed soil 
would be recontoured and revegetated. 

Mining operations associated with all action alternatives also would require increased 
discharges to sedimentation ponds and the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Under each 
alternative, discharges would need to meet NPDES requirements. Periodic monitoring of mine 
effluents would ensure that effluents were not adversely affecting water quality or causing 
potential toxic effects on aquatic organisms. If concerns were identified during monitoring, 
corrective actions would be implemented to make sure that water quality and toxicity objectives 
were met. 

The potential effects of all action alternatives on the federally endangered and special concern 
fish species that occur in the Gunnison and Colorado rivers would be limited mainly to water 
use and mine dewatering. Water withdrawals for exploration, dust control, and domestic use 
and mine dewatering would represent an extremely small depletion in the Gunnison and 
Colorado rivers, which are inhabited by Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, bonytail, and 
humpback chub and three special concern species (flannelmouth sucker, bluehead sucker, and 
roundtail chub). By itself, the project-related depletions would not measurably affect flows in 
either occupied or critical habitat areas for the federally endangered fish species. However, the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers any depletion in the Upper Colorado River Basin as 
potentially contributing to impacts on the endangered fish species. 

Since the project area for the proposed mines is located at least 40 miles upstream from the 
closest occupied or critical habitat reaches for the endangered fish species (i.e., confluence 
between the North Fork of the Gunnison and Gunnison rivers), no additional impacts are 
expected. Potential increases in sedimentation or water quality changes due to fuel spills would 
be limited to drainages within the project study area or the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-152 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

Of the various project impacts discussed above, sediment increases and potential fuel spills 
could directly affect the special concern species that inhabit the lower portion of Hubbard Creek 
and the North Fork of the Gunnison River. 

Indirect Effects - Increases in the local population as a result of all action alternatives could 
result in increased fishing pressure in Hubbard and Terror Creeks. If a new road is constructed 
along Hubbard Creek as part of exploration, new vehicle access could allow additional fishing in 
Hubbard Creek. It is assumed that fishermen would adhere to Colorado Division of Wildlife 
regulations, which restrict the number of trout harvested from these streams. 

3.10.3.4 Effects of Alternative B 

The direct and indirect impacts of Alternative B on aquatic resources would be the same as 
discussed for all action alternatives. An additional impact that could occur under Alternative B 
would be potential subsidence and erosion effects on Hubbard and Terror creeks, as a result of 
longwall mining (and subsequent subsidence) under these streams. This indirect impact could 
contribute sedimentation to the stream, if subsidence resulted in landslides in these drainages. 
Soil input to the stream also could impede flow or change the channel configuration. Aquatic 
habitat could be dominated by pools or ponds in areas where subsidence occurs or where large 
amounts of soil/rock enter the channels. However, it is important to point out that risks of 
subsidence and landslides would be extremely low in areas adjacent to Terror Creek. The 
highest risks for these types of impacts are along Hubbard Creek. 

3.1 0.3.5 Effects of Alternative C 

The direct and indirect impacts of Alternative C on aquatic resources would be the same as 
discussed for Alternative B. As previously mentioned, subsidence and landslide risks would be 
extremely low in the Terror Creek drainage. However, risks would be higher in the Hubbard 
Creek drainage, where past landslides have occurred. Landslides would potentially result in 
sedimentation impacts on aquatic communities. Flows could be impeded, if the slide blocked 
the channel. Impacts associated with Alternative C also would occur for an additional two to 
three years, as the mining period is longer for this alternative. 

3.10.3.6 Effects of Alternative D 

The direct and indirect impacts of Alternative D on aquatic resources would be the same as 
discussed for all action alternatives. See Section 3.10.3.3, Effects Common to All Action 
Alternatives. The duration of impacts would be two to three years longer than the No-Action 
scenario and Alternative B. Since no subsidence would occur under Terror or Hubbard creeks 
in Alternative D, the effects of sedimentation and flow impedance would not occur as discussed 
for Alternatives B and C. 

3.10.4 Cumulative Effects 

If one of the action alternatives is selected, cumulative impacts could affect aquatic 
communities as a result of coal exploration and mining activities, highway upgrade construction, 
agriculture, and logging. Potential cumulative impacts would consist of short-term, localized 
increases in sediment and additional water depletions (primarily related to agricultural 
operations). The extent of the sedimentation impacts would depend upon the effectiveness of 
the sediment control practices, presence of drainages near the construction area, and distance 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-153 

to perennial streams. New additional water withdrawals could adversely affect aquatic habitat, 
if they occur during the low flow periods in the summer, fall, and winter months. Aquatic habitat 
presently is limited in the local streams in the project area due to agricultural uses. Fuel spills 
also could occur, if vehicles and equipment are used near water bodies. By implementing 
restrictions on fueling vehicles and equipment near water bodies, potential spill risks would be 
reduced. 

3.10.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

Mitigation measures for fisheries, hydrologic balance, and spill prevention and hazardous 
materials would be employed. These measures would focus on maintaining acceptable water 
quantity and quality conditions in project area streams to protect aquatic communities. 
Sediment control measures would be required. The Spill Prevention Control and 
Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan would describe measures to be implemented to reduce impacts 
of potential spills or leaks on aquatic communities. 

The unsuitability criterion 9 requires consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prior to 
leasing lands. See Section 1 .6.1 , BLM Resource Management Plan Consistency; Appendix C, 
Unsuitability Analysis Report - iron Point Coal Lease Tract; and Appendix D, Unsuitability 
Analysis Report - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 

Two additional effective protection measures are recommended for aquatic resources, as listed 
below: 

► No fueling or lubricating of vehicles and other construction equipment should be 
allowed within 100 feet of streams or wetlands. In addition, fuel should not be stored 
within 500 feet of any water bodies. 

► The Recovery Implementation Program for Endangered Fish Species in the Upper 
Colorado River (Recovery Program) was established in 1 988 to mitigate for water 
depletion impacts to federally-listed fish species. To ensure the survival and 
recovery of the listed species, water users are required to make a one-time payment 
to the Recovery Program. The one-time payment would be required if the 
withdrawal volume exceeds 100 acre-feet (annual average). In 1995, an intra-US 
Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion determined that the fee for depletions of 
less than 100 acre-feet is no longer required (USFWS, 1995). 

3.11 CULTURAL RESOURCES 

Issue: Identify cultural resources and minimize disturbance impacts to these resources. Areas 
of concern include the effects to historic properties listed or eligible for listing on the National 
Register of Historic Places. 

3.11.1 Introduction 

The project area for the cultural review in this EIS includes the lands contained within and 
surrounding the coal exploration license and coal lease boundaries. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-154 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.11.2 Affected Environment 

3.11.2.1 Cultural Context 

The RP3 prehistoric context applicable to the general project area (Reed, 1984) presents the 
prehistory of this region in four cultural units or stages, as follows: 

► Paleo-lndian Stage (10,000-5500 B.C.), 

► Archaic Stage (5500 B.C. -500 A.D.), 

► Formative Stage (500 A.D.-1 200 A.D.), 

► Proto-Historic/Historic Stage and Ute Tradition (1200 A.D.-1881 A.D.). 

More than 540 sites, representing all of these stages, have been recorded in Delta County 
previously (Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, 1996). 

Cultural resource types representing these stages include various distinctive lithic and ceramic 
artifacts, rock art, open campsites, rock shelters and wickiups, and lithic procurement sites, 
among others. The differing types of cultural resources associated with each stage presumably 
reflect variations in general cultural adaptations and subsistence strategies over time. 

The RP3 historic context for this region (Husband, 1 984) presents the history of this area in 
terms of a number of socioeconomic themes. Themes most applicable to the current project 
area include early exploration and fur trade (1760-1876), Ute-Euroamerican contact (1640- 
1889), ranching/farming (1870-1945), railroading (1871-1934), and especially, coal mining 
(1872-1945). 

3.11.2.2 Files Search 

A computerized search of the Colorado Inventory of Cultural Resources was conducted through 
the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) on April 29, 1999. This search 
indicated that a number of cultural resource inventories have been conducted previously within 
and adjacent to the project area of potential effects, and some cultural resources have been 
previously recorded in this area. 

3.11.2.3 Previous Surveys 

SHPO records indicate that a total of 16 cultural resource surveys have been conducted 
previously within or partially within the current project area of potential effects. These surveys 
were conducted to ensure National Historic Preservation Act compliance for various projects, 
(e.g., coal mining/drilling, access roads, timber sales, oakbrush control, a borrow pit, pipeline, 
and transmission line). 

These surveys were conducted between 1977 and 1998 by various entities, including Collbran- 
Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison National Forest, Colorado State University, and five 
regional private archaeological consulting firms. Most of these surveys were completed to 
intensive standards (Class 111, although the comparatively recent Bowie No. 2 Mine survey 
(Connor, 1995) combined intensive and intuitive (Class II) survey methods. 

Most of the previous surveys were relatively small, ranging from a few acres to about 50 acres 
in extent, although the Bowie No. 2 Mine survey contained over 800 acres. While most of the 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3 -155 

total acreage covered by previous surveys is apparently outside the current project area of 
potential effects, surveys have been conducted in portions of 17 of the 25 sections containing 
the project area of potential effects. 

3.11.2.4 Previously-Recorded Cultural Resources 

A total of 1 5 cultural resources have been recorded within the sections containing the current 
project area of potential effects. Some of these resources are referred to in this document by 
Smithsonian number; however, as directed by SHPO staff, information is already on file with the 
SHPO and Forest Service. 

Most of these 15 resources are located near the extreme western periphery of the project area, 
generally within the East Fork of Terror Creek drainage. This distribution apparently reflects 
previous survey activity in this area, and is not necessarily indicative of a similar cultural 
resource distributional pattern within the unsurveyed portions of the project area of potential 
effects. 

The 1 5 resources recorded previously within the project sections consist of eight isolated 
prehistoric lithic artifacts, three prehistoric open campsites, two historic corrals, one historic 
dugout, and one historic dumpsite. 

The isolated artifacts consist of lithic reduction debris, utilized flakes, bifaces, a handstone, one 
fragmentary Late Archaic projectile point, and one fragmentary Late Prehistoric projectile point. 

Of the 1 5 previously-recorded cultural resources, seven are inside the boundaries of the project 
area of potential effects. One of these seven is the isolated Late Prehistoric projectile point 
fragment noted above, 5DT163. Of the remaining five, three are open lithic sites; 5DT272, 
5DT273, and 5DT868, and one is an historic dugout, 5DT699. Two of the seven cultural 
resources are within the project area of potential effects, 5DT273 and 5DT700, two are listed in 
SHPO records in the "Needs Data" category, while the others have all been field evaluated 
and/or officially determined not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The historic 
site known as Dove Cave is located on Forest Lands in T12S, R91W, Section 34. It has been 
identified as requiring protection. 

3.1 1 .2.5 Cultural Resource Potential Within Area of Potential Effects 

Based on the published prehistoric and historic cultural contexts for this general region and the 
project-specific SHPO files search data, the project area can be presumed to have some 
potential for surficial cultural resources associated with any/all of the prehistoric periods and 
historic themes described above. 

The file search produced some direct evidence of an Aboriginal presence in and adjacent to the 
project area during the Late Archaic and Late Prehistoric stages. Other prehistoric cultural 
resources are likely to exist within the project area, although the minimal previous survey data 
available preclude accurate prediction of their locations. If present, such resources could be 
useful in elucidating general patterns of prehistoric settlement/subsistence on the eastern 
portion of the Colorado Plateau, and might also provide chronological information leading to the 
establishment of absolute date/artifact associations in this region. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-156 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

Historic cultural resources Tor which most potential within the project area could probably be 
anticipated would be those related to the coal mining theme. The historic King Mine site, 
5DT1053, and the associated Bowie townsite, 5DT122, both located outside of, but near the 
southern boundary of the project area, have extensive histories dating from the turn-of-the- 
century era. 

3.11.3 Environmental Consequences 

As indicated elsewhere in this EIS, surface subsidence resulting from the expansion of 
underground mining is the only anticipated surface effect within the project area at this time. 
The amount of subsidence is expected to be so minimal as to be visually undetectable. 
However, sometime in the indeterminate future, visible surface impacts may be created by 
exploratory drilling and possible construction of mine ventilation shafts and degasification 
boreholes. The locations of these potential future impacts within the project area are not known 
at this time. 

Since the only surface effect within the project area known at this time would be subsidence, it 
appears that none of the few known cultural resources within the area of potential effects would 
be discernibiy affected. The one possible exception identified at this time is Dove Cave. That 
is within the Iron Point Lease Tract and Exploration License area. As indicated above, of the 
seven previously-recorded cultural resources within the project area of potential effects, 
5DT273 and 5DT700, are listed in the "Needs Data" category in SHPO records. Resources in 
this category have been regarded as potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic 
Places unit evaluated otherwise. As indicated earlier, all other known cultural resources within 
the area of potential effects are apparently not eligible for the National Register of Historic 
Places. 

The Bowie townsite, 5DT122, and the King Mine, 5DT1053, have both been officially 
determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Both of these sites are outside 
of, but near the southern area of potential effects boundary of the project area. No impacts to 
these sites are expected from the exploration or mining. 

3.1 1 .4 Native American Consultation 

A project description and vicinity map were sent to Betsy Chapoose, Director, Cultural Rights 
and Protection, Northern Ute Tribe, upon initiation of the NEPA process. No comments have 
been received concerning the project. 

3.1 1 .5 Management Recommendations 

The historic site Dove Cave would be protected from surface disturbance including damage 
from subsidence (see Appendix I, Forest Service Stipulations, Iron Point Coal Lease Tract.) 
Since it appears that no other cultural resources would be affected by the proposed expansion 
of underground mining, no further evaluative or protective cultural resource measures are 
recommended at this time. 

However, prior to any of the visible surface impacts (i.e., drilling, shaft construction, etc.) 
described above, a cultural survey of the areas to be affected is recommended. Also, if the 
Bowie townsite and/or King Mine, 5DT1 22 and 5DT1 053, are to be impacted by federally- 
permitted action in the future, agency consultation to mitigate or minimize adverse effects to 



North ~ork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-1 57 

these properties is recommended. All eligible sites would be mitigated according to plans 
approved by the surface management agency and SHPO. 

3.12 NOISE 

Issue: Identify and minimize noise impacts. Areas of concern include: levels of noise from coal 
transportation by truck and railroad; disruptions caused by such noise to the normal activities of 
adjacent residents/communities; and nighttime railroad noise in Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Delta. 

3.12.1 Introduction 

Environmental noise is typically measured in A-weighted decibels (dBA). The A-weight is 
automatically completed by noise meters, and is a frequency-dependent sound level adjustment 
that simulates the sensitivity of human hearing at various sound frequencies. Figure 25, Noise 
Levels Caused by Typical Activities, shows the noise levels generated by familiar operations. 

The dBA sound level scale is a logarithmic rather than a linear scale, so the dBA reading is not 
directly related to the actual energy of the sound. The smallest clearly discernible noise level 
increase is about 3 dBA, which corresponds to a doubling of the sound energy. A 10-dBA noise 
increase is perceived as a doubling of the judged loudness. For example, one bulldozer 
typically generates a sound level of about 80 dBA at a distance of 50 feet. Two bulldozers side- 
by-side would give a noise reading of 83 dBA, and would be perceived as barely louder than 
one bulldozer. Ten bulldozers side-by-side would give a noise reading of 90 dBA, and would be 
perceived as twice as loud as one single bulldozer. 

The environmental impact of a given noise level depends partially on the noise duration. For 
this EIS, the following noise level descriptions are used to assess noise impacts. 

*■ 1-hour Equivalent Noise Level L-eq(h). During any given hour, the instantaneous 
noise level usually fluctuates. The L-eq is the single noise level that equates to the 
average sound energy during the 1-hour averaging period. The L-eq(h) is the noise 
descriptor that is used in the Colorado state noise regulation, and is used by the 
Federal Highway Administration to evaluate traffic noise. 

► 24-hour Day-Night Noise Level L-dn. The L-dn is the weighted average of the 
individual hourly L-eq values during a 24-hour day, adjusted by adding a 10 dBA 
factor to the L-eq readings during nighttime hours (10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.) to 
account for the fact that noise is more annoying at night. The L-dn is used by the 
Federal Transit Administration to evaluate highway noise and railroad noise. 

3.12.2 Noise Regulations and Guidelines 

3.12.2.1 Colorado Noise Emission Limits 

The state of Colorado has noise regulations that specify allowable daytime and nighttime noise 
limits (Colorado Regulation 25-12 Article 12, "Noise Abatement"). The Colorado noise 
regulation differs significantly from most state and local noise regulations typically found in the 
United States. Most noise regulations typically limit the noise levels at the receiving property 
(e.g., 50 dBA allowable daytime noise level at the property line of a residence). However, the 
Colorado noise regulations restrict noise emissions radiating from an industrial facility, 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-158 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

regardless of how far it is to the closest receiving residential property. The following noise 
emission limits apply at a point 25 feet from any industrial facility's property line: 

The Colorado noise emission limits do not apply to traffic traveling along public highways. 
However, the regulation explicitly applies to railroads, with the railroad right-of-way specifying 
the "facility boundary". 

3.12.2.2 Noise Guidelines for Federally-Funded Transit Projects (Highways and 
Railroads) 

The federal Department of Transportation and its sub-agency, the Federal Transit 
Administration have established non-binding guidelines to define unacceptable noise impacts in 
EIS documents that involve federally-funded highway, railroad, and airport projects (FTA, 
1 995). Note that these regulations do not directly apply to trucks or coal trains associated with 
the coal mines for this EIS because the proposed exploration and mining activities would not 
receive federal funding. However, the FTA noise guidelines are presented here to describe a 
relevant set of criteria that can be used to qualitatively rank the noise impacts caused by 
increased usage of haul trucks and coal trains. 

The Federal Transit Administration noise criteria are based on a series of historical studies that 
evaluated public annoyance caused by noise increases (EPA, 1974). Those studies indicated 
that, when the existing noise levels are low, it takes a large increase in the noise level to cause 
an adverse public reaction. However, when the existing noise level is already high, it requires 
only a small increase in the noise level to produce significant annoyance. 

Based on these historical studies, The Federal Transit Administration developed a "sliding 
scale" set of criteria to define three noise descriptors: "no impact"; "impact"; and "severe 
impact". For residential areas, the FTA criteria are based on the 24-hour weighed-average L- 
dn. Figure 26, Federal Transit Administration Noise Impact Criteria for Highway Traffic and 
Railroad Projects, shows the impact criteria. 

Another noise criterion that has no legal applicability to the proposed exploration and mining 
activities (but which provides a relevant criterion for assessing environmental impacts) is the 
recommended maximum 1-hour L-eq noise level that is used by the Federal Highway 
Administration (FHWA, 1995). For federally-funded projects, the Federal Highway 
Administration requires installation of noise mitigation if a proposed highway project causes a 
maximum hourly noise level (L-eq(h)) exceeding 67 dBA at any residential property. 

3.12.3 Affected Environment (Background Noise Levels) 

Background noise level measurements at representative locations around the project site were 
taken on April 21 , 1999 and April 23, 1999. The measurements were taken using a hand-held 
noise monitor (Larson-Davis Modei 720) that was set for A-weighting and "slow" response. The 
monitor has a detection range of about 25 dBA to 1 20 dBA. The weather conditions during the 
noise monitoring were cool with little wind. 

For this EIS, the term "background noise" implies the noise levels that would exist if all of the 
mining operations were operating at their normally expected production rates as of April, 1999. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 



Page 3-159 



Background Noise Measurements at Rural Locations. Table 3.12-1, Measured Noise 
Levels at Rural Areas Near Paonia, lists the measured background values that were taken 
during brief periods when there were no mine-related trucks or trains. All of the measurements 
were "spot check" values taken using the hand-held meter over an averaging time of 10 
seconds to 10 minutes. Rural background measurements were taken during the daytime and 
nighttime at two locations on Garvin Mesa and at one location next to State Highway 133. 
Daytime and nighttime background noise readings were taken at several locations in Paonia 
and Hotchkiss. Some of the monitoring stations at Paonia and Hotckhiss were later used to 
measure noise levels caused by passing coal trains. 

In general, the background noise measurements were as expected. The quietest 
measurements taken at night on Garvin Mesa were only 36 dBA, with the predominant noises 
being natural bird sounds. Routine daytime noise levels in the urban residential areas were 48 
to 56 dBA with predominant sounds produced by routine local traffic. At the rural site near 
State Highway 133, the spot check measurements showed 41 to 49 dBA during brief periods of 
no discernible traffic and spot noise levels of 64 dBA during the brief period while a coal truck 
drove past. 

3.12.3.1 Noise Levels at Rural Locations During Train Loading 

The No-Action Alternative includes routine train loading at the Bowie No. 1 Loadout near Paonia 
and the Oxbow coal loading facilities near Somerset. For this assessment, the noise emissions 
from coal train loading were limited to measurements of the Bowie No. 1 Loadout, because the 
Oxbow mining facility had been temporarily shut down. Table 3. 12-1, Measured Noise Levels 
at Rural Areas Near Paonia, lists the noise levels that were measured at the residence closest 
to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout while a coal train was being loaded. At one location that did not 
have a direct line-of-sight with the loading facility, the noise level during loading was minor (39 
dBA) and the mechanical noise caused by the loading was barely discernible. At a second 
residential location with a nearly line-of-sight view of the loading facility, the noise level was 49 
dBA, and the mechanical noise was quiet but clearly audible during the pre-dawn hours. 
However, the measured daytime background level (without any train loading) at that same 
location was 55 dBA, so it is assumed that the noise from train loading would be either 
inaudible or barely discernible during the daytime. 

3.12.3.2 Noise Levels at Paonia and Hotchkiss Without Coal Trains 

Table 3. 12-2, Measured Background Noise Levels at Paonia and Hotchkiss, lists the 
background daytime and nighttime noise levels at the two townsites. Nighttime L-eq noise 
levels ranged from 35 to 41 dBA, with predominant noises produced by distant traffic and by 
water flowing in distant creeks. Daytime L-eq noise levels ranged from 48 to 56 dBA, with 
predominant noises produced by normal residential and commercial traffic. 

3.12.3.3 Train Noise Levels 

The No-Action Alternative includes coal trains passing through the towns of Paonia and 
Hotchkiss, originating from the three local coal mines. A series of noise measurements were 
taken near the railroad tracks in Paonia and Hotchkiss. The purpose of the coal train noise 
measurements was to develop the maximum hourly-average L-eq for assessing compliance 
with the Colorado noise regulation, and to develop the 24-hour average L-eq for assessing the 
impact using the FTA noise impact criteria. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-160 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.12-1 
Measured Noise Levels at Rural Areas Near Paonia 


Time of 
Day 


Condition 


Noise Levels in dBA 


Predominant Noises 


L-eq 


L-25 


L-50 


L-90 


Residence at 1660 4100 Road (Closest Residence to Bowie No. 1 Rail Loading Facility) 


4/21/99; 
16:25 


Back patio, line of sight to truck 
unloading silos; est. 1 ,500 feet 
away from silos 


55 


58 


54 


50 


Traffic on Highway 153; fan 
noise from truck unloading 
facility 


4/23/99; 
04:35 


Front yard during period of no 
train or truck activity 


35 


35 


34 


34 


Very quiet; distant highway 
noise 


4/23/99; 
07:44 


Front yard during train loading; 
no line of sight to train facility; 
est 3,000 feet to train loading 
facility 


39 


40 


38 




Barely discernible 
mechanical noise from train 
loading; minor highway noise 


4/23/99; 
07:53 


Back patio during train 
unloading; closest to train 
loading station; est 3,000 feet 
to train loading facility 


49 


50 


49 




Quiet but clearly discernible 
mechanical noise from train 
loading; minor highway 
noise; birds 


Terror Creek Winery, No Line of Sight to Highway or Train Loading 


4/21/99; 
15:06 


Daytime; no line of sight to any 
industrial activity 


53 


53 


48 


40 


Birds, breeze in trees 


4/23/99; 
07:30 


Early morning during coal 
loading at Bowie No. 1 coal 
facility 


44 


43 


40 


37 


No discernible coal facility 
noise; birds, water flowing in 
ditch 


Traffic Noise From highway 153, Taken at "Colorado Western Slope Counseling" 150 Feet From Highway 


4/21/99; 
17:18 


Noise without any passing 
vehicles 


41-49 








River sounds, birds, etc. 




Cars and pickup trucks 


53-59 








Maximum noise during car 
passage 




Coal trucks 


62-64 








Maximum noise during truck 
passage 



The locations of the noise measurement stations and a summary of the measured train noise 
levels are shown in the following figures: 

► Figure 27, Train Noise at Paonia (4/21/99); 

► Figure 28, Train Noise at Paonia (4/25/99); and, 

► Figure 29, Train Noise at Hotchkiss (4/21/99 and 4/25/99). 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-161 



Table 3.12-2 
Measured Background Noise Levels at Paonia and Hotchkiss 


Time of 
Day 


Condition 


Noise Levels in dBA 


Predominant Noises 


L-eq 


L-25 


L-50 


L-90 


Paonia Receiver P-1 : Main Street; V 2 Block (115 Feet) From RR Tracks 




4/22/99 
13:16 


Daytime Baseline 


58 


52 


49 


44 


Birds; distant traffic 


4/23/99 
04:10 


Nighttime Baseline 


36 


36 


36 


36 


Distant exhaust fan; distant 
creek 


4/23/99 
late a.m. 


Westbound (full) train 


61 


60 


56 


-- 


Slow-moving train 


Calc'd L-dn 




81 


- 


-- 


- 




Paonia Receiver P-2: 118 Main Street; 1 Vz Block (490 Feet) From RR Tracks 


4/22/99 
13:10 


Daytime baseline 


48 


48 


44 


41 


Birds; distant traffic; distant 
carpentry 


4/23/99 
04:00 


Nighttime baseline 


41 


41 


38 


36 


Distant exhaust fan; distant 
creek 


4/23/99 
late a.m. 


Westbound (full) train 


56.5 


56 


54 


— 


Train noise was barely 
distinguishable from other 
noises in the area 


Calc'd L-dn 




51 


- 


-- 


-- 




Paonia Receiver P-3; 224 Main Street; 2 % Blocks (900 Feet) From RR Tracks 




4/22/99 
13:03 


Daytime Baseline 


51 


51 


49 


48 


Birds; distant traffic 


4/23/99 
04:15 


Nighttime Baseline 


40 


41 


39 


36 


Distant drainage ditch; 
distant exhaust fan 


Hotchkiss Receiver H-2; 4* Street and High Street; 1 Block (240 Feet) From RR Tracks 


4/22/99 
12:25 


Daytime Baseline 


48 


47 


45 


43 


Distant traffic, birds, distant 
carpentry 


4/23/99 
03:30 


Nighttime Baseline 


36 


37 


36 


35 


Distant creek, distant traffic 


Hotchkiss Receiver H-3; 4 th Street and Orchard Street; 2 Blocks (550 Feet) From RR Tracks 


4/22/99 
12:28 


Daytime Baseline 


50 


50 


48 


47 


Distant traffic, birds, distant 
dog 


4/23/99 ■ 
03:30 


Nighttime Baseline 


35 


36 


35 


33 


Distant drainage ditch, 
distant traffic 



The monitoring locations were selected to provide a reasonable sample of the types of 
residences that could be impacted by train noise. Some of the monitoring locations were at 
unoccupied spots within 30 feet of the tracks that accurately define the noise emissions from 
the train, but to not reflect actual noise exposure by residents. Other monitoring locations 
represent homes located within the first block of the tracks, with minor shielding from adjacent 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-162 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



buildings. Finally, some monitoring locations represent homes located more than one block 
from the tracks, with the majority of the noise shielded by adjacent buildings. 

Noise measurements were taken on two days to measure eastbound (empty) trains and 
westbound (full) trains. Eastbound (empty) trains are carrying their load slightly uphill, and they 
were measured to be considerably louder than the westbound (full) trains that travel slightly 
downhill. 

3.12.4 Environmental Consequences 

3.12.4.1 Summary of Noise Impacts 

The noise impacts caused by operations at Oxbow and Bowie are summarized in Table 3. 12-3, 
Summary of Noise Impacts Caused by Oxbow Mining and Table 3. 12-4, Summary of Noise 
Impacts Caused by Production Increase at Bowie Resources. 



Table 3.12-3 
Summary of Noise Impacts Caused by Oxbow Mining 


Project Item 


Impacts to Valley Towns 
(Somerset, Paonia, Hotchkiss) 


Impacts to Nearby 
Rural Residents 


New portal construction 


Minor impact. Construction noise 
would be temporary. Noise levels 
at Somerset would probably be less 
than 1 dBA above nighttime 
background. 


Not applicable. There are no 
residents near the portal sites. 


New portal operation (fans and 
conveyors) 


Minor impact. Portal fans and new 
conveyor might be discernible at 
Somerset, but noise levels would 
probably be less than 1 dBA above 
nighttime background. 


Not applicable. There are no 
residents near the portal site. 


Beaver Creek vent raise fan 


No impact. Vent raises would not 
be audible at any town sites 


Minor impact. Vent raise noise 
might be barely discernible at 
homes in the valley on an 
infrequent basis during 
exceptionally quiet periods. 


Increased surface operations 
(Not applicable - proposed action 
would not result in increased 
surface operations) 


Not applicable 


Not applicable 


Increased coal train traffic 
(Not applicable - proposed action 
would not increase annual rail 
traffic) 


Not applicable 


Not applicable 



The mining equipment at the Bowie No. 2 Mine causes little direct noise impacts at the nearest 
homes. However, the coal handling facilities of Oxbow possibly exceeds the state of Colorado 
noise emission limits, and possibly causes noise impacts at the nearest homes in Somerset. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-163 



Table 3.12-4 
Summary of Noise Impacts Caused by Production Increase at Bowie Resources 



Project Item 



Construction of new conveyor and 
truck loading facility 



Increase surface operations at 
upper mine site 



Noise from new conveyor and lower 
truck loading facility 



Impacts to Valley Towns 
(Somerset, Paonia, Hotchkiss) 



Negligible. Construction noise 
would not be audible at the town 
sites. 



Impacts to Nearby 
Rural Residents 



Negligible. Routine operations 
would not be audible at the town 
sites. 



Negligible. Truck loading would not 
be audible at the town sites. 



Increased coal truck traffic and 
commute vehicles along State 
Highway 133 



Increase usage of train loading 
facility 



Increased coal train traffic 



Negligible. Coal trucks will not 
routinely travel through Paonia or 
Hotchkiss 



Negligible. Train loading would not 
be audible at urban areas of Paonia 



Minor impact. Construction noise 
would be discernible at a limited 
number of rural homes. 



Negligible impact. Noise from the 
upper mine site might be barely 
discernible at some rural homes 
during periods of exceptionally 
quiet background. 



Negligible impact. Noise from the 
new conveyor would increase 
nighttime noise levels at some rural 
homes during periods of 
exceptionally quiet background. 
The 24-hour L-dn noise level would 
probably increase by less than 1 
dBA. 



Negligible impact. Increased coal 
trucks are modeled to cause an L- 
dn noise increase of only 3 dBA at 
homes along State Highway 133. 



Minor impact. Noise levels at the 
facility boundary comply with the 
Colorado noise emission limits. 
Nighttime noise levels at rural 
homes nearest the train loading 
facility increase to about 49 dBA 
during the 2-hour loading period. 
The train loading noise is probably 
inaudible during the day, and is 
discernible but not intrusive at night 



Significant impact adjacent to the tracks, and negligible impact at homes 
partially shielded by other structures. Existing L-dn noise levels at homes 
adjacent to the tracks 



Issuance and subsequent mining of the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would 
increase the number of coal trains passing through Paonia and Hotchkiss as compared to the 
No-Action Alternative. Homes next to the tracks with no shielding by adjacent buildings are 
subjected to severe noise impacts. However, the increase in coal trains would have either a 
minor impact or no impact on homes more than about one-half block from the tracks with 
reasonable shielding by adjacent buildings. 

Issuance and subsequent mining of the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract would increase the number 
of coal trucks traveling on State Highway 133 between the Bowie No. 2 Mine and the Bowie No. 
1 Loadout. Noise from the increased coal trucks would cause a noise impact at homes closer 
than about 200 feet to the highway. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-164 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



3.12.4.2 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

Noise Impacts During Construction - Temporary noise impacts would occur during 
construction of the new Elk Creek Mine portal and associated facilities. Conventional 
construction equiDment is expected to be used. The construction noise would probably be 
barely discernible at the town of Somerset. The construction noise would also be barely 
discernible at a distance of several miles in the unpopulated areas surrounding the construction 
sites. 

Noise Levels from Mining Equipment - There would be no significant change in the mode of 
operation or the hours of operation for the surface facilities at Oxbow or Bowie. Therefore, 
there would be no net increase in the noise levels generated by these mining operations. 
However, with projected coal production increases from the mines in the North Fork valley, 
there would be an increase in the number of coal trains traveling through Paonia and Hotchkiss, 
with a corresponding increase in noise impacts. 

L-dn Noise Levels Caused by "No Action" Coal Trains - The Federal Transit Administration 
noise impact criteria are based on the 24-hour average L-dn. It was not practical to conduct 24- 
hour measurements to directly measure the L-dn caused by coal trains, because the Oxbow 
Sanborn Creek Mine had been inactive because of a mine fire during the spring of 1999 when 
noise measurements were being taken. 

Therefore, the L-dn noise levels at the representative residential locations were calculated from 
the measured baseline measurements and the estimated number of daily train passages. 
Table 3. 12-5, Assumed Coal Trains Used for Noise Calculations, lists the assumed coal 
production at each of the three local mines and calculates the number of coal train passages 
per year for the combined three mines. A total of 1 0,500 trains per year (3.6 trains per day) are 
assumed to load at the mines for the "No-Action" alternative. For these calculations a coal train 
duration of 5 minutes per passage is assumed, based on measurements on April 21 and 25, 
1999. 



Table 3.12-5 
Assumed Coal Trains Used for Noise Calculations 


Item 


Assumed Value for 
"No-Action Alternative" 


Assumed Value for 
Action Alternatives 


Oxbow Mining Production Rate 


1 .8 tons/year 


5.0 tons/year 


Bowie No. 2 Production Rate 


5.0 tons/year 


6.0 tons/year 


Mountain Coal Production Rate 


7.0 tons/year 


8.2 tons/year 


Combined Production Rate for 3 Regional Mines 


13.8 tons/year 


19.2 tons/year 


Coal Train Payload 


10,500 tons/train 


10,500 tons/train 


Number of Daily Coal Trains 


3.6 eastbound 
3.6 westbound 


5.0 eastbound 
5.0 westbound 


Duration of Train Passage 


4 to 6 minutes 


4 to 6 minutes 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-165 

Table 3. 12-6, Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Paonia (No-Action), and Table 3. 12-7, Calculated 
L-dn Train Noise at Hotchkiss (No-Action), show the calculated L-dn values at each of the 
measurement locations in Paonia and Hotchkiss. For these calculations, the following 
assumptions were made: 

► The single "daytime background" and the single nighttime" background represent the 
average noise levels during the 15 hour daytime period (from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and 
the 9 hour nighttime period (from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.). 

► The total daily duration of coal train passages is listed in Table 3. 12-5, Assumed 
Coal Trains Used for Noise Calculations. 

► Half of the coal trains are assumed to pass in the daytime, and half are assumed to 
pass during the nighttime. 

- The 24-hour L-dn was calculated by adding 1 dBA to the nighttime background 
values and the nighttime train passages. 

L-dn Noise Levels Near State Highway 133 Caused by "No-Action" Coal Trucks - The No- 
Action Alternative includes coal trucks traveling along State Highway 133 between the Bowie 
No. 2 Mine and the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. The STAMINA computer model developed by the 
Federal Highway Administration was used to estimate the hourly-average noise levels and the 
24-hour L-dn noise level at two representative receiver locations located 100 feet and 200 feet 
from the highway. 

Annual average daily traffic (ADT) vehicle counts for 1996 for State Highway 133 were obtained 
from the Colorado Department of Transportation. The ADT at Paonia was 3,1 50 vehicle passes 
per day. The ADT data do not include a breakdown of cars vs. trucks. For purposes of 
calculating the daytime and nighttime noise impacts, the following assumptions were made: 

► The coal trucks were assumed to operate 24 hours per day. The "No-Action" coal 
truck usage is 196 coal trucks per day corresponding to a production rate of 2 million 
tons per year. The "Proposed Action" coal truck usage is 489 coal trucks per day 
corresponding to a production rate of 5 million tons per year. 

► Non-project vehicles were divided into the following categories: 70 percent cars; 20 
percent medium trucks; and 10 percent heavy trucks. 

► It was assumed that the daytime hourly rate of non-project vehicles was twice the 
nightly hourly rate. 

► The number of delivery trucks was estimated to increase threefold for the "Action 
Alternatives" while continuing to operate over an 8-hour day shift. It was also 
estimated there would be three times as many mine commuters for the "Action 
Alternatives", and that they would now travel 24 hours per day. 

Table 3. 12-8, Noise Impacts of Traffic on State Highway 133, lists the assumed daytime and 
nighttime traffic volumes for "No-Action" and "Action Alternatives". 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-166 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.12-6 

Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Paonia 

(No-Action) 


Time of Day 




Hrs 


L-eq 


Night 
Factor 


Net 
dBA 


Factor 
P10 A L 


Receiver P-1; NTn Street; 1 / 2 Block (115 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 




14.699 


56 





56 


2.E+05 


Night baseline 




8.899 


38 


10 


48 


1.E+04 


Day westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


61 





61 


8.E+03 


Night westbound train 




0.15 


61 


10 


71 


8.E_04 


Day eastbound train 


Assume eastbound train is 10 
dBA louder than westbound 
train, based on field 
measurements at Hotchkiss 


0.15 


71 





71 


8.E+04 


Night eastbound train 




0.15 


71 


10 


81 


8.E+05 


Total 




24 


- 


- 


~ 


1.E+06 


Calc'd L-dn 






- 


- 


- 


60.8 


Receiver P-2; 1 1 8 Main Street; 1 Va Blocks (490 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 




14.899 


48 





48 


4.E+04 


Night baseline 




8.899 


41 


10 


61 


5.E+04 


Day train 


Based on field measurement 


0.3 


56.4 





58.4 


5.E+04 


Night train 




0.3 


56.4 


10 


66.4 


5.E+04 


















0.E+00 


















0.E+00 


Total 




24 


- 


- 


~ 


1 .E+05 


Calc'd L-dn 




- 


- 


- 


" 


51.8 


Receiver P-3; 224 Main Street; 2 V* Blocks (900 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 




14.899 


51 





51 


8.E+04 


Night baseline 




8.899 


40 


10 


50 


4.E+04 


Day train 


Based on field measurement 


0.3 


58 





56 


5.E+03 


Night train 




0.3 


58 


10 


66 


5.E+04 


















0.E+00 


















0.E+00 


Total 




24 


- 


- 


- 


2.E+05 


Calc'd L-dn 




" 


- 


~ 


" 


52.3 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-167 



Table 3.12-6 

Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Paonia 

(No-Action) 


Time of Day 




Hrs 


L-eq 


Night 
Factor 


Net 
dBA 


Factor 
Plf/L 


Receiver P-4; 2 nd Street; 1 / 2 Block (30 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 


Assume same as Main Street 
baseline measurement 


14.899 


58 





56 


2.E+05 


Night baseline 




8.899 


38 


10 


45 


1.E+04 


Day eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


100 





100 


6.E+07 


Night eastbound train 




0.15 


100 


10 


110 


6.E+08 


Day westbound train 


Assumed to be 10 dBA quieter 
than eastbound train 


0.15 


80 





90 


8.E+08 


Night westbound train 




0.15 


80 


10 


100 


8.E+06 


Total 




24 


- 


~ 


- 


8.E+08 


Calc'd L-dn 




- 


~ 


- 


~ 


89 


Receiver P-5; 2 nd Street and Box Eider Avenue; 1 1 / 2 Blocks (270 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 


Assume same as Main Street 
baseline measurement 


14.899 


58 





56 


2.E+05 


Night baseline 




8.699 


36 


10 


46 


1.E+04 


Day train 


Based on field measurement 


0.3 


57 





57 


6.E+03 


Night train 




0.3 


57 


10 


67 


6.E+04 


















0.E+00 


















0.E+00 


Total 




24 


- 


~ 


- 


3.E_05 


Calc'd L-dn 




- 


- 


- 


- 


55.1 


Basis for Train Duration: 13.8 million tons of coal per year produced by 3 regional mines; 3.8 trains per day 
each direction; 5 minutes average train duration per passing. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-168 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.12-7 

Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Hotchkiss 

(No-Action) 


Time of Day 




Hrs 


L-eq 


Night 
Factor 


Net 
dBA 


Factor 
P10 A L 


Receiver H-1 ; 4 th Street; 40 Feet From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 


Assume same as H-2 


14.70 


48 





46 


4.E+04 


Night baseline 


Assume same as H-2 


8.70 


36 


10 


46 


1.E+04 


Day eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


98 





98 


4.E+07 


Day westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


84 





84 


2.E+08 


Night eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


98 


10 


108 


4.E+08 


Night westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


84 


10 


94 


2.E+07 


Total 




24.00 


~ 


- 


- 


5.E+08 


Calc'd L-dn 




- 


- 


- 


- 


88.5 


Receiver H-2; 4 th Street and High Street; 1 Block (240 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 


Based on field measurement 


14.70 


48 





48 


4.E+04 


Night baseline 


Based on field measurement 


8.70 


36 


10 


48 


1.E+04 


Day eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


62 





62 


1 .E+04 


Day westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


76 





76 


2.E+05 


Night eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


62 


10 


72 


1.E+05 


Night westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


76 


10 


86 


2.E+08 


Total 




24.00 


- 


~ 


- 


3.E+08 


Calc'd L-dn 




- 


- 


- 


- 


64.8 


Receiver H-3; 4 th Street and Orchard Street; 2 Blocks (660 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 


Based on field measurement 


14.70 


50 





50 


5.E+04 


Night baseline 


Based on field measurement 


8.70 


35 


10 


45 


1 .E+04 


Day eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


51 





51 


8.E+02 


Day westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


53 





53 


1.E+03 


Night eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


51 


10 


61 


8.E+03 


Night westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.15 


53 


10 


63 


1.E+04 


Total 




24.00 


- 


- 


- 


1 .E+05 


Calc'd L-dn 




- 


- 


- 


- 


49.8 


Basis for Train Duration: 13.8 million tons of coal per year produced by 3 regional mines; 3.8 trains per day 
each direction; 5 minutes average train duration per passing. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-169 



Table 3.12-8 
Noise impacts From Traffic Along State Highway 133 




No-Action 


Proposed Action 


Day (veh/hr) 


Night (veh/hr) 


Day (veh/hr) 


Night (veh/hr) 


Non-project Vehicles 


Cars 


113 


57 


113 


57 


Medium Trucks 


32 


16 


32 


16 


Heavy Trucks 


16 


8 


16 


8 


Total Non-project Vehicles 


161 


81 


161 


81 


Project: Coal Trucks 


15 


15 


40.75 


40.75 


Project: Delivery Trucks 


1.25 


- 


3.75 


— 


Project: Mine Commuters 


12.5 


~ 


12.5 


12.5 


Total Cars 


126 


57 


126 


70 


Total Medium Trucks 


33 


16 


36 


16 


Total Heavy Trucks 


31 


23 


57 


49 


TOTAL VEHICLES 


190 


96 


219 


135 


Leq(h)(dBA) (100 ft/200 ft) 


65/60 


63/58 


67/62 


66/61 


Ldn(dBA) (100 ft/200 ft) 


70/65 


73-68 


FTA Impact Descriptor at 100-ftfor Proposed Action - No-Action 


Impact 


FTA Impact Descriptor at 200-ftfor Proposed Action - No Action 


Impact 



The FHWA Highway Traffic Noise Prediction Model was used to determine the existing and 
future noise exposure. The model calculates the 1-hour L-eq(h)noise level at a single receptor. 
Receptors were assumed to be located at points 100 feet and 200 feet from the highway. The 
model was run at each receptor location for both daytime and nighttime traffic volumes. 

The L-eq(h)s calculated by the model was used to estimate the Day-Night Sound Level (L-dn) 
for both the existing and future conditions. 

The calculated 1-hour L-eq(h)s and the modeled L-dn values are listed in Table 3. 12-8, Noise 
Impacts of Traffic on State Highway 133. For the "No-Action" traffic volumes, the maximum 1 - 
hour L-eq(h) at distances of 1 00 feet and 200 feet were 65 and 61 dBA, respectively. Both 1 - 
hour L-eq(h) values were well below the 67 dBA criterion that the FHWA defines as a 
"significant impact". 

3.1 2.4.3 Effects of Alternative B 

Noise Impacts During Exploration - Exploration drilling in the Iron Point exploration license 
area would generate noise. Based on observations at other exploration projects, noise from the 
drill rigs is expected to be barely audible at a distance of two to three miles during quiet parts of 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-170 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

the day. It is unlikely that the noise levels at any homesites would be more than 1 dBA above 
the daytime background. 

Noise Impacts Caused by Surface Facilities - The measured noise emissions from mining 
equipment and coal train loading equipment are listed in Table 3. 12-9, Measured Noise 
Emissions From Mining Activities. All of the measurements were taken at the Bowie facilities 
because the Oxbow Mine was temporarily shut down at the time of measurement. 
The surface facilities at the Bowie No. 2 Mine range from 500 feet to over 3,000 feet from the 
facility boundary. As listed in Table 3. 12-10, Predicted Noise Levels at Mine Site Boundaries 
and Comparison with Colorado Noise Limits, the estimated noise levels at the Bowie No. 2 Mine 
boundary are well below the Colorado noise limits. The noise from the Bowie No. 2 Mine is 
expected to be barely discernible at the nearest homesites. 

The Bowie No. 1 Loadout is next to State Highway 133 and is within 3,000 feet of nearby 
homes. As shown in Table 3. 12-10, Predicted Noise Levels at Mine Site Boundaries and 
Comparison with Colorado Noise Limits, the noise levels at the facility boundary are estimated 
to be less than the Colorado limits. As shown in Table 3. 12-1, Measured Noise Levels at Rural 
Areas Near Paonia, the noise caused by train loading was clearly discernible at the nearest 
residence during the quiet pre-dawn hours. 

The surface facilities at the Oxbow Mine (other than the train loading facility) are about 800 feet 
from the property line next to the town of Somerset. The noise levels at Somerset caused by 
the Oxbow Mine operations were calculated based on the field measurements that were taken 
at the Bowie facilities. As listed in Table 3. 12-10, Predicted Noise Levels at Mine Site 
Boundaries and Comparison with Colorado Noise Limits, the estimated noise levels at the 
Oxbow Mine boundary are well below the Colorado noise limits. The noise from the Oxbow 
activities is expected to be clearly discernible at the nearest homes in Somerset, but are not 
expected to be loud enough to be disruptive. 

The train loading facility at the Oxbow facility is only about 100 feet from the facility boundary 
and about 200 feet from the nearest homes. As listed in Table 3. 12-10, Predicted Noise Levels 
at Mine Site Boundaries and Comparison with Colorado Noise Limits, the estimated noise level 
at the boundary during the 2-hour operation of the train loading facility would be 79 dBA, which 
exceeds the Colorado noise limit for nighttime operation. The noise from the Oxbow operation 
at the nearest home is estimated at 73 dBA. That noise level is higher than the 67 dBA noise 
criterion that the FHWA describes as a "significant impact". 

Noise Impacts by New Ventilation Facilities • New ventilation facilities would include above- 
ground fans housed in weatherproof structures. Based on observations of the ventilation fans 
operated on the south side of the Gunnison River by the West Elk Mine, it is expected that the 
new fans operated by Oxbow and Bowie would generate a "white noise" sound that would be 
barely discernible at a distance of 3 to 4 miles. It is unlikely that the fans would be discernible 
at homesites near Paonia or Somerset. 

Noise Impacts Caused by Increased Coal Trains - The measured 30-second average train 
noise levels during train passages through Paonia and Hotchkiss are described in Table 3. 12- 
1 1, Measured 30-Second Noise Levels Caused by Coal Trains. The calculated 24-hour L-dn 
noise levels that would occur for the Action Alternatives are listed in Table 3. 12-12, Calculated 
L-dn Train Noise at Paonia (Action Alternatives), and Table 3. 12-13, Calculated L-dn Train 
Noise at Hotchkiss (Action Alternatives). Table 3. 12-14, Action Alternatives vs. No-Action Coal 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-171 



Table 3.12-9 
Measured Noise Emissions From Mining Activity 


Time of 
Day 


Condition 


Noise Levels in dBA 


Predominant Noises 


L-eq 


L-25 


L-50 


L-90 


Mining and Coal Processing Activities at Upper Surface Facility 


4/25/99 
p.m. 


Coal conveyor discharge onto 
coal pile; 70 feet distance 


79 












Coal crusher; 1 00 feet 
distance 


81 










Covered coal conveyor from 
mine to crusher; 25 feet 
distance 


79 








high-pitched clanging of 
rollers and belt 


Coal stacker tower 
discharging onto open coal 
pile; 80 feet distance 


82 








high-pitched noise 


General facility noise without 
coal stacker; 250 feet from 
center of activity 


75 










General facility noise including 
coal stacker tower; 1 50 feet 
from tower 


82 








Coal stacker was the loudest 
noise at the facility 


Noise From Upper Surface Facility, Measurements Taken at Mine Office at Bottom of Valley; 3,200 Feet 
From Upper Facility 


4/25/99 
p.m. 


Combined surface operations 
not including coal stacker 
tower 


41 








Mine noise was barely 
discernible when coal 
stacking tower was not 
operating 


Coal stacker tower and other 
combined surface operations 


46 








Coal stacker was the loudest 
noise at the facility 


Coal Train Loading at Bowie No. 1 Train Facility; Measurements Taken From Road 4175; 1,600 Feet From 
Train Loading 


4/25/99 
06:00 


Coal train backing into facility 


57 








Spot reading 


4/25/99 
07:00 


Coal train loading 


54.8 


55.3 


54.6 




Coal loading; traffic on 
Highway 153 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-172 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.12-10 

Predicted Noise Levels at Mine Site Boundaries and 

Comparison With Colorado Noise Limits 


Mining Operations 


Approximate 

Distance to 

Facility Boundary 


Predicted or Measured 

Noise Level at 

Facility Boundary 

(dBA) 


Colorado Noise 
Limits 


Bowie No. 1 Coal Train 
Loading Facility 


150 feet 


76dBA 


Daytime = 80 dBA 
Nighttime = 75 dBA 


Bowie No. 2 Mine; New 
Coal Conveyor 


500 feet 


69 dBA 


Daytime = 80 dBA 
Nighttime = 75 dBA 


Bowie No. 2 Mine; Upper 
Surface Operations 


3,500 feet 


45 dBA 


Daytime = 80 dBA 
Nighttime = 75 dBA 


Oxbow Mine Coal Train 
Loading Facility 


100 feet 


79 dBA 


Daytime = 80 dBA 
Nighttime = 75 dBA 


Oxbow Mine Surface 
Operations 


800 feet 


68 dBA 


Daytime = 80 dBA 
Nighttime = 75 dBA 


Coal Trains Passing 
Through Residential Areas 


200 feet to right-of-way 


95 to 100 dBA for 4 to 6 
minutes per train. 1-hour 
average L-eq is 87 dBA to 
89 dBA 


Daytime = 90 dBA 
Nighttime = 75 dBA 



Train Noise in Paonia and Hotchkiss, lists the calculated noise increases caused by increased 
coal train traffic. 

The coal trains do not comply with the noise emission limits set by the state of Colorado. As 
listed in Table 3. 12-10, Predicted Noise Levels at Mine Site Boundaries and Comparison With 
Colorado Noise Limits, the average 1-hour L-eq noise levels produced by the coal trains exceed 
the allowable Colorado noise emission limits that apply 25 feet outside the right-of-way. 

There is no regulatory limit for train noise impacts to residential neighborhoods. For this EIS, 
the noise impacts caused by incremental increases in train traffic between the Action 
Alternatives and No-Action Alternatives were assessed using the impact criteria developed by 
the Federal Transit Administration for federally-funded railroad projects and the Federal 
Highway Administration for federally-funded road projects. Those criteria impose no legal 
restrictions on privately-funded actions, but they offer a relevant set of environmental criteria for 
use in describing impacts. 

Figure 30, Noise Impact Descriptors Using Federal Transit Administration Criteria, shows how 
the Federal Transit Administration criteria were used to assess the impacts of the noise 
increases. The results and conclusions are as follows: 

Homes Next to Tracks: Severe Impact . Homes within roughly 1 00 feet of the railroad tracks 
with no shielding by adjacent buildings are exposed to a "severe impact". The 30-second L-eq 
noise levels during a train passage were as high as 100 dBA. The 1-hour L-eq noise levels 
there exceed the 67 dBA FHWA criterion, and the No-Action L-dn noise level is "off the chart" 
for the Federal Transit Administration noise criteria. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-173 



Table 3.12-11 
Measured 30-Second Noise Levels Caused by Coal Trains 


Location 


Orientation to 
Tracks 


Daytime 
Baseline Noise 
Level Without 

Trains 
(dBA) 


Nighttime 

Baseline Noise 

Level Without 

Trains 

(dBA) 


Noise Level 
During Passing 

Coal Train 

(dBA, Leq for 3-5 

minutes) 


P-1 (Paonia) 
Residence Near 
First and Main, 
outdoors 


115 ft from tracks; 
partially shielded by 
neighboring houses 


56 


36 


61 (westbound) 


P-2 (Paonia) 
Residence, 118 
Main Street 


490 ft from tracks, 
mostly shielded by 
neighboring houses 


48 


41 


57 (westbound) 


P-3 (Paonia) 
Residence, 224 
Main Street 


800 ft from tracks, 
entirely shielded by 
neighboring houses 


51 


40 


56 (westbound) 


P-4 (Paonia) 
Non-residential 
Location on 
Sidewalk on 2 nd 
Street 


30 ft from tracks, with 
unobstructed exposure 
to train noise 


56 


36 


100 (eastbound) 


P-5 (Paonia) 
Residence Near 2 nd 
Street and Box 
Elder Ave. 


270 ft from tracks, 
partially shielded by 
neighboring houses 


56 


36 


57 (eastbound) 


H-1 (Hotchkiss) 
Non-residential 
Location on 
Sidewalk on 4 th 
Street 


40 ft from tracks with 
unobstructed exposure 
to train noise 


48 


36 


98 (eastbound) 
84 (westbound) 


H-2 (Hotchkiss) 
Residence Near 4 th 
Street and High 
Street, outdoors 


240 ft from tracks, 
partially shielded by 
neighboring houses 


48 


36 


76 (eastbound) 
62 (westbound) 


H-3 (Hotchkiss) 
Residence Near 4 th 
Street and Orchard 
Street, outdoors 


550 ft from tracks, 
entirely shielded by 
neighboring houses 


50 


35 


53 (eastbound) 
51 (westbound) 






North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-174 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.12-12 

Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Paonia 

(Action Alternatives) 


Time of Day 




Hrs 


L-eq 


Night 
Factor 


Net 
dBA 


Factor 
P10 A L 


Receiver P-1; M ai n Street; Vk Block (115 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 




14.58 


56 





56 


2.E+05 


Night baseline 




8.582 


36 


10 


48 


1.E+04 


Day westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.209 


81 





81 


1.E+04 


Night westbound train 




0.209 


61 


10 


71 


1.E+05 


Day eastbound train 


Assume eastbound train is 10 
dBA louder than westbound 
train, based on field 
measurements at Hotchkiss 


0.209 


71 





71 


1.E+05 


Night eastbound train 




0.0209 


71 


10 


81 


1.E+06 


Total Hours 




24.00 


- 


- 


- 


2.E+06 


Calc'd L-dn 




- 


~ 


- 


- 


62.0 


Receiver P-2; 118 Main Street; 1 Vz Blocks (480 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 




14.58 


48 





45 


4.E+04 


Night baseline 




8.582 


41 


10 


51 


5.E+04 


Day train 


Based on field measurement 


0.418 


58.4 





56.4 


8.E+03 


Night train 




0.418 


58.4 


10 


65.4 


8E.04 


Calc'd L-dn 




23.998 


- 


- 


~ 


2.E+05 


Calc'd L-dn 




~ 


~ 


- 


-- 


52.8 


RECEIVER P-3, 224 MAIN STREET; 2 Vz BLOCKS (900 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 




14.58 


51 





51 


8.E+04 


Night baseline 




8.582 


40 


10 


50 


4.E+04 


Day train 


Based on field measurement 


0.418 


56 





58 


7.E+03 


Night train 




0.418 


56 


10 


66 


7.E+04 


Calc'd L-dn 




23.998 


~ 


- 


-- 


2.E+05 


Calc'd L-dn 




- 


-- 


- 


- 


52.8 


Receiver P-4; 2 nd Street; Vi Block (30 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 


Assume same as Main Street 
baseline measurement 


14.58 


56 





58 


2.E+05 


Night baseline 




8.582 


36 


10 


45 


1.E_04 


Day train eastbound 


Based on field measurement 


0.209 


100 





100 


9.E+07 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-175 



Table 3.12-12 

Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Paonia 

(Action Alternatives) 


Time of Day 




Hrs 


L-eq 


Night 
Factor 


Net 
dBA 


Factor 
Pir/L 


Night train eastbound 




0.209 


100 


10 


110 


9.E+08 


Day train westbound 


Assumed to be 1 dBA quieter 
than eastbound train 


0.209 


90 





90 


9.E+08 


Night train westbound 




0.209 


90 


10 


100 


9.E+07 


Calc'd L-dn 




23.998 


~ 


- 


- 


1.E+09 


Calc'd L-dn 




-- 


- 


- 


- 


90 


Receiver P-5; 2 nd Street and Box Elder Avenue; 1 1 / 2 Blocks (270 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 


Assume same as Main Street 
baseline measurement 


14.58 


58 





56 


2.E+05 


Night baseline 




8.582 


35 


10 


46 


1.E+04 


Day train 


Based on field measurement 


0.418 


57 





57 


9.E+03 


Night train 




0.418 


57 


10 


67 


9.E+04 


Calc'd L-dn 




23.988 


- 


- 


~ 


4.E+05 


Calc'd L-dn 




- 


- 


~ 


- 


55.5 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-176 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



Table 3.12-13 

Calculated L-dn Train Noise at Hotchkiss 

(Action Alternatives) 


Time of Day 




Hrs 


L-eq 


Night 
Factor 


Net 
dBA 


Factor 
PIOY 


Receiver H-1 ; 4 th Street; 40 Feet From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 




14.58 


48 





48 


4.E+04 


Night baseline 




8.582 


35 


10 


46 


1 .E+04 


Day eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


68 





88 


5.E+07 


Day westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


84 





84 


2.E+06 


Night eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


98 


10 


108 


5.E+09 


Night westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


84 


10 


94 


2.E+07 


Total 




23.996 


- 


- 


- 


8.E+08 


Calc'd L-dn 




~ 


~ 


- 


~ 


88.0 


Receiver H2; 4 th Street and High Street; 1 Block (240 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 


Based on field measurement 


14.58 


48 





48 


4.E+04 


Night baseline 


Based on field measurement 


8.582 


36 


10 


48 


1 .E+04 


Day eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


62 





62 


1 .E+04 


Day westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


78 





76 


3.E+05 


Night eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


62 


10 


72 


1 .E+05 


Night westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


76 


10 


88 


3.E+08 


Total 




23.996 


- 


~ 


- 


4.E+08 


Calc'd L-dn 




~ 


- 


- 


-- 


88.0 


Receiver H-3; 4 th Street and Orchard Street; 2 Blocks (580 Feet) From RR Tracks 


Day baseline 


Based on field measurement 


14.58 


50 





50 


6. E+04 


Night baseline 


Based on field measurement 


8.582 


35 


10 


45 


1.E+04 


Day eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


51 





51 


1.E+03 


Day westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


53 





63 


2.E+03 


Night eastbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


51 


10 


61 


1.E+04 


Night westbound train 


Based on field measurement 


0.208 


53 


10 


63 


2. E+04 


Total 




23.996 


- 


- 


- 


1.E+05 


Calc'd L-dn 




-- 


- 


- 


- 


50.1 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-177 



Table 3.12-14 

Action Alternatives vs. No-Action Coal Train Noise in 

Paonia and Hotchkiss 



Location 



P-1 (Paonia) 
Residence Near First 
and Main, outdoors 



P-2 (Paonia) 
Residence, 118 Main 
Street, outdoors 



Orientation to Tracks 



115 from tracks, partially 
shielded by neighboring 
houses 



490 feet from tracks, 
mostly shielded by 
neighboring houses 



L-dn for 
No-Action 



61 dBA 



P-3 (Paonia) 
Residence, 224 Main 
Street, outdoors 



P-4 (Paonia) Non- 
residential Location on 
Sidewalk on 2 nd Street 



P-5 (Paonia) 
Residence near 2 nd 
Street and Box Elder 
Ave., outdoors 



H-1 (Hotchkiss) 
Non-residential Location 
on Sidewalk on 4 th Street 



H-2 (Hotchkiss) 
Residence Near 4 th 
Street and High Street, 
outdoors 



H-3 (Hotchkiss) 
Residence near 4 th 
Street and Orchard 
Street, outdoors 



800 feet from tracks, 
entirely shielded by 
neighboring houses 



30 feet from tracks, with 
unobstructed exposure to 
train noise 



270 feet from tracks, 
partially shielded by 
neighboring houses 



40 feet from tracks with 
unobstructed exposure to 
train noise 



240 feet from tracks, 
partially shielded by 
neighboring houses 



550 feet from tracks, 
entirely shielded by 
neighboring houses 



51 dBA 



53 dBA 



L-dn for 

Proposed 

Action 



62 dBA 



62 dBA 



53 dBA 



89 dBA 



55 dBA 



87 dBA 



65 dBA 



50 dBA 



90 dBA 



56 dBA 



88 dBA 



66 dBA 



50 dBA 



Hourly Noise 

Level (L-eq-h) 

During Train 

Passage 



62 dBA 



50 dBA 



52 dBA 



89 dBA 



56 dBA 



87 dBA 



65 dBA 



60 dBA 






Homes One Block Fr om Tracks . No Impact. Homes more than about one block from the 
railroad tracks that are partially shielded by adjacent buildings are subject to much lower noise 
levels than homes next to the tracks. Measured 30-second train noise levels at homes one 
block from the tracks were 57 to 76 dBA, which were well above non-train background levels. 
However, the 1-hour average L-eq(h) values during a train passage were well below the 67 dBA 
FHWA criterion. The calculated increase in the 24-hour average L-dn is only about 1 dBA , 
which implies "No Impact" according to the Federal Transit Administration noise criteria. 

Homes at Least Two Blocks From Tracks . Scarcely Above Background. Homes more than 
about two blocks away from the railroad tracks are barely impacted by train noise. The 30- 
second noise levels measured during train passages were only 51 to 56 dBA, which was only 
slightly higher than the routine daytime background. That noise level would be clearly audible 
during quiet nighttime periods, but the noise would not be expected to disrupt sleep or normal 
speech. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-178 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

Noise Impacts Along State Highway 133 Caused bv Increased Truck Traffic to Bowie No. 
2 Mine . There are no regulatory limits on highway noise impacts to residential areas. For this 
EIS, the noise impacts caused by incremental increases in coal truck traffic between the Action 
Alternatives and No-Action Alternative were assessed using the impact criteria developed by 
the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway Administration for federally-funded 
road projects. Those criteria impose no legal restrictions on the privately-funded actions, but 
they offer a relevant set of environmental criteria for ruse in describing impacts. 

The noise increases at a receptor located 100 feet, 200 feet and 300 feet from State Highway 
133 are listed in Table 3. 12-8, Noise Impacts of Traffic on State Highway 133. Figure 30, Noise 
Impact Descriptors Using Federal Transit Administration Criteria, shows how the Federal 
Transit Administration criteria were used to assess the impacts of the noise increases. The 
results and conclusions are as follows: 

Homes Closer than 300 Feet: Minor Impact . The maximum 1-hour L-eq(h) values range 
from 57 to 64 dBA, all of which are below the 67 dBA FHWA criterion. However, as shown in 
Figure 30, Noise Impact Descriptors Using Federal Transit Administration Criteria, all homes 
within 300 feet fall into the "Impact" category due to the incremental noise increase of 3 dBA. 

Homes Farther Than 300 Feet: No Impact . The maximum 1-hour L-eq(h) noise levels are less 
than the FHWA criterion, and the Federal Transit Administration criteria indicate "No Impact". 

3.12.4.4 Effects of Other Action Alternatives 

The coal production levels, haul truck usage, and coal train traffic would be the same for all of 
the Action Alternatives. Therefore, the predicted noise impacts for Action Alternatives C and D 
would be comparable to those described in Section 3.12.4.3, Effects of Alternative B. 

3.12.5 Possible Noise Mitigation 

3.12.5.1 Noise Barriers at Oxbow Coal Loading Station 

The estimated noise emissions at the facility boundary at the Oxbow coal loading station 
exceed the allowable Colorado state noise emission limits, and noise levels at homes nearest 
the coal loading facility are modeled to be impacted. Two mitigations are suggested: 

► Conduct noise measurements while the train loading facility is operating to confirm 
the modeled noise levels that were extrapolated from field measurements at the 
Bowie No. 1 Loadout facility. 

► If noise levels are measured to exceed the Colorado limits, noise barriers could be 
constructed between the coal loading station and the nearest homes. 

3.12.5.2 Noise Mitigation for Trains Passing Through Towns 

Noise emissions from the coal trains exceed the allowable Colorado noise emission limits, and 
noise levels at homes nearest the tracks exceed relevant environmental criteria. The following 
noise mitigation measures could be effective in reducing the impacts: 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-179 

* The coal trains passing through populated areas could be slowed down to reduce the 
power load on the locomotive and thus reduce the noise. It was observed that 
westbound trains traveling slightly downhill (with a low engine load) were much 
quieter than eastbound trains traveling slightly uphill (with a high engine load). 

► Noise mitigation could be applied directly to the limited number of homes that are 
adjacent to the tracks. Improvements such as double-pane windows have proven to 
be effective in reducing noise impacts near airports and highways. These 
improvements are very effective when the windows are closed, but they are 
ineffective if the windows are opened on warm days. 

► Noise walls could be installed at locations where trains pass close to homes or 
apartments. Noise walls would provide highly effective, but highly localized, noise 
reductions. However, careful consideration must be given to potential traffic safety 
concerns that would be created if the noise walls reduced visibility at railroad 
crossings. 

► The noise from train horns is immediately in front of the train. Noise impacts to 
homes next to the tracks at street crossings could be eliminated if crossings are 
closed or could be reduced if the train lowered the horn volume or eliminated horn 
usage. However, reducing or eliminating horn usage could cause a major safety 
hazard at railroad crossings. The increased safety hazard would far outweigh the 
noise from train horns. 

3.12.5.3 Noise Mitigation for Coal Trucks on State Highway 133 

Modeled noise levels at homes closer than 300 feet to State Highway 133 exceed the Federal 
Transit Administration noise criteria. The following noise mitigation measures could reduce the 
impacts to those homes: 

► Reduce the speed of the coal trucks. The noise modeling was completed using the 
posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. Reducing the allowable speed of the coal 
trucks would reduce the modeled noise impacts. 

3.13 LAND USE 

Issue: Minimize disturbance. Areas of concern include: the acreage of disturbance; the amount 
of disturbance on BLM, Forest Service, and private lands; and the possible changes in future 
land use. 

3.13.1 Introduction 

Land uses within the region are mining, exploration, agriculture, logging, residential 
development, and recreation. Specifics about land use within and adjacent to the two coal 
lease tracts are set forth in Section 1 .9, Past, Present and Reasonably Foreseeable Cumulative 
Actions Considered in this Analysis. 

Mixed land ownership occurs within and around the two coal lease tracts and the exploration 
license area as follows: 59 percent (Forest Service), 25 percent (BLM), and 15 percent 
(Private). 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






Page 3-180 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.13.2 Affected Environment 

This section describes the various land uses within and surrounding the two coal lease tracts 
and the exploration license area. 

3.13.2.1 Private and Public Lands 

There is a mixture of federal and private lands within the two coal lease tracts. Private land, as 
well as those lands administered by the BLM and the Forest Service are shown on Figure 2, 
Surface Ownership Map. All coal within the two coal lease tracts and the coal exploration 
license area is federally controlled. 

3.13.2.2 Past and Present Mining Operations 

Coal mining has been one of the dominant land uses in the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
area. Underground mining has occurred in this area for the past 1 00 years. Coal mining has 
occurred on both private and public lands in the general area. The location of the historic coal 
mining operations are shown on Figure 3, Historic Coal Mines and Federal Coal Lease 
Locations. For more information on the historic mining in this area, see Appendix G, Historic 
Coal Mining Activity. 

There are currently three existing operating and one idle underground coal mines in the North 
Fork valley. These are the Bowie No. 2 Mine, the Sanborn Creek Mine, and the West Elk Mine. 

The Bowie No. 2 Mine is operated by Bowie Resources Ltd. and is presently conducting coal 
mining operations using room and pillar mining techniques. Bowie plans to add a longwall 
system in 1999 which would increase production to 5 million tons per year. 

The Sanborn Creek Mine is operated by Oxbow Mining, Inc. In 1998, the Sanborn Creek Mine 
produced approximately 1.5 million tons of coal. The mine is permitted with the Colorado DMG 
for an annual production of approximately 4 million tons of coal per year, but has the capacity to 
produce up to 6 million tons of coal per year. 

The West Elk Mine is operated by Mountain Coal Company and presently produces coal from 
several federal leases. This operation utilizes a longwall system. In 1999, Mountain Coal 
Company plans to produce and ship approximately 7 million tons of coal from the West Elk 
Mine. In 2005, production from the West Elk Mine is slated to reach 8.2 million tons of coal per 
year. 

The Bowie No. 1 Mine is currently idle under provisions of a temporary cessation approval from 
the Colorado DMG. There was no coal production from this mining operation in 1 998. 

3.13.2.3 Coal Exploration 

Coal exploration has been initiated in the area in conjunction with the actual coal mining 
operations. Such exploration activities have been undertaken to identify and delineate 
recoverable coal deposits. These activities generally involve drilling to delineate the coal 
reserves and evaluate coal quality. Exploration activities have occurred on National Forest 
System lands and BLM-administered lands under plans of operation and subsequent 
amendments approved by the BLM and the Forest Service. There has also been coal 



Wort/7 Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-181 

exploration on private lands. All exploration activities, whether on federal or private lands, must 
be permitted with the Colorado DMG. Other than the coal exploration license currently under 
review, there are no exploration activities presently planned or ongoing on the Iron Point or Elk 
Creek Coal Lease Tracts. 

3.13.2.4 Utilities 

The Western Area Power Administration owns and operates the Curecanti-Rifle 230/345 kV 
electric transmission line that essentially parallels Terror Creek, west of the Bowie No. 2 Mine. 
The right-of-way for this transmission line is 1 25 feet in width, which includes access roads. 
The transmission line structures are steel lattice with buried reinforced concrete bases. 

The electric transmission line would be protected from mining impacts as stated in Criterion 2 in 
Appendix C, Unsuitability Analysis Report - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract. 

3.13.2.5 Timber Operations 

Other than some small stands of aspen that have been logged in the area, there are no 
commercially merchantable timber stands that exist within or adjacent to the two coal lease 
tracts. The major timber harvest activities in the region have occurred in the Stephens Gulch 
area, which is located north of the community of Paonia, Colorado. 

The Hotchkiss Ranch Company has harvested several aspen stands on their property which is 
located within and surrounding the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. 

Some products, such as fence posts and fuel wood, have been harvested off federal lands 
within and adjacent to the lease tracts and exploration license areas, but this activity has been 
limited. 

3.13.2.6 Oil and Gas 

There are no oil and gas leases located on or near the coal lease tracts or the coal exploration 
license area. The potential for the discovery of conventional resources of oil and gas under 
either lease tract or the coal exploration license area is very slight. Dry wells have been drilled 
to the Dakota Sandstone a few miles to the southwest and to the northwest of the lease tracts. 

3.13.2.7 Agricultural Activities 

Agricultural activities have historically been and continue to be a prominent part of the local 
Paonia economy. Fruit production is generally confined to the valley floors and low 
mesas/terraces adjacent to the North Fork of the Gunnison River. The principal orchard crops 
are apples, pears, peaches, and cherries. In recent years, vineyards (and several wineries) 
have been developed and are being operated in the Paonia area. 

Sheep and cattle grazing also occurs on pasture land in the Paonia area, with summer livestock 
grazing occurring in the higher elevations within and adjacent to lands in the proposed Iron 
Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. Some pasture lands have been used for hay 
production. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-182 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.13.2.8 Residential Activities 

In recent years, the area within and surrounding the communities of Paonia, Hotchkiss, 
Crawford, and Delta, Colorado have experienced an influx of population and the construction of 
new housing. This region of Colorado seems to be attractive to new "migrants" because of a 
number of factors including the areas natural beauty, low land costs, sparse population, minimal 
land use controls, and low cost of living. The new housing development is "down valley" from 
the proposed coal lease tracts and exploration license area. There is no residential housing 
development planned for either coal lease tract or the exploration license area. 

3.13.2.9 Recreation 

There are no developed recreation facilities operated by the BLM or the Forest Service on the 
proposed coal lease tracts and exploration license area. Hunting is the primary recreation 
activity within and adjacent to the proposed coal lease tracts and exploration license area. 
Other dispersed recreational activities occur in the area, but on a limited basis due to the lack of 
developed facilities. Four-wheeling, hiking, picnicking, horse back riding, snow mobiling, and 
general sight-seeing have been mentioned as occurring. 

3.13.2.10 Roadless Area Review 

A portion of the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract (W 1 / 2 , Section 32, T12S, R90W) falls within a 
Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE II) area that was inventoried in the late 1970s for 
the purpose of Wilderness Designation under the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Springhouse 
Park area (02-184) was not listed as suitable wilderness in the Final RARE II EIS in 1979 
(USDA-FS, 1979). 

3.13.3 Environmental Consequences 

3.13.3.1 Summary 

In the long term, following mining, the area would be used much as it was before mining. Any 
surface subsidence caused by underground mining would be minimal and would not affect the 
pre-mining land use. The reclamation and revegetation techniques to be undertaken on any 
disturbed sites are comparatively simplistic, commonly accepted techniques with a history of 
successful application in the western states. Reclamation would be initially utilized to provide 
for site stability, with revegetation allowing the disturbed sites to return to conditions that existed 
prior to any disturbance. 

3.13.3.2 Effects Common to All Alternatives 

Direct Effects - Mining activities have historically occurred and are currently occurring within 
and adjacent to the two federal coal lease tracts and the coal exploration license area. The 
exploration activities and the operation of an underground coal mine would not introduce any 
noticeable land use change in the area around the coal lease tracts or the exploration license 
area. In addition, on a more regional basis, the exploration and mining would not substantially 
change other land uses in Delta or Gunnison counties, or on Forest lands or BLM-administered 
lands. Reclamation of any surface disturbance would be planned to re-establish wildlife habitat 
and livestock grazing. With mitigation and reclamation, the implementation of any of the 
alternatives would not substantially affect the long-term land use or land use planning on 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-183 

National Forest System lands, BLM-administered lands, or adjacent private areas. 
Subsidence would not alter the appearance of any of the area within the two coal lease tracts. 
Surface disturbances on the coal lease tract and the exploration area would be minimal and 
temporary, with reclamation returning disturbed areas to a stabilized and productive condition. 
Preliminary evaluations of other reclamation work in the area indicate that revegetation can be 
successfully accomplished at the time of closure. 

Post-mining land use would be similar for all alternatives. It would include livestock grazing, 
wildlife habitat, and dispersed recreation. 

Indirect Effects - As explained in Section 3.15, Socioeconomics, there may be some minor 
population increases associated with the expanded mining which may cause some minor 
changes in private land use within Delta County. Some undeveloped or agricultural land may 
be converted to residential uses if these incoming workers choose to construct homes in the 
area. The amount of such development would be extremely minor given the relatively few new 
comers that would be expected. 

Cumulative Effects - There are no anticipated major cumulative land use effects expected for 
any of the alternatives. Mining and exploration, grazing and other agricultural activities, housing 
development and recreation would probably remain the dominant land uses in the immediate 
area of the coal lease tracts and the coal exploration area. 

3.1 3.3.3 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

If Alternative A is selected, the land use of the two coal lease tracts and the coal exploration 
area would not change. In this situation, mining and exploration would continue in other areas. 

3.13.3.4 Effects of Alternative B, C and D 

The land use effects of these three action alternatives would be the same as described in 
Section 3.13.3.2, Effects Common to All Alternatives. 

3.13.4 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

The Colorado DMG would require a subsidence monitoring plan in order to detect any impacts 
as a result of underground mining. In addition, this agency would be responsible for 
revegetation success which would return any disturbed areas to a condition that existed prior to 
mining. 

3.14 TRANSPORTATION 

Issue: Address truck and train traffic impacts created by coal mining in the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River valley and the potential for accidents. Areas of concern include: the amount of 
train traffic in the area; the ability of the railroad to handle the projected tonnages of coal to be 
mined from the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley; the increase in traffic as a result of 
hauling coal to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout and the Terror Creek Loadout; the need for an 
additional rail loadout facility for the Bowie No. 2 Mine; the potential for accidents involving 
increased train and truck traffic; and, the risks for accidents at railroad crossings in Delta 
County as well as along sections of State Highway 133 subject to coal truck traffic. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






Page 3-184 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.14.1 Introduction 

The transportation analysis focuses on State Highway 133 in the Paonia-Somerset area and 
the Union Pacific railroad spur from Grand Junction to the loadout at the West Elk Mine. This 
analysis was based on projected vehicular and train traffic, public safety, environmental safety, 
and long-term maintenance. The location of the railroad spur and the regional roads are shown 
on Figure 31, Rail and Road Systems. 

Highway traffic counts are identified as annual ADT. ADT is defined as the measure of traffic 
over a 24-hour period and is determined by counting the number of vehicles passing a specific 
point on a particular point in either direction. The Colorado Department of Transportation has 
estimated annual 1996 ADT values based on actual traffic counts made at various locations 
along State Highway 133 and State Highway 92. Annual ADT estimates for 1998, 2000 and 
2005 are based on an annual 2 percent increase in traffic volumes, as well as traffic increases 
expected as a result of expanded mine production. See Table 3. 14-1, Annual Average Daily 
Traffic - State Highways 92 and 133. 

3.14.2 Affected Environment 

3.14.2.1 Major Transportation Route 

The major transportation route servicing the Paonia-Somerset area is State Highway 133. This 
highway serves local residents and associated commercial traffic for the local communities, 
including the mining operations in the North Fork Valley. The road also experiences some 
miscellaneous traffic between the Roaring Fork Valley (Glenwood Springs-Carbondale-Aspen) 
and the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley. 

State Highway 133 is an asphalt, all-weather, two-lane highway. In Delta County, the road 
essentially parallels the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley and has minimal grades. The 
road intersects State Highway 92 in Hotchkiss, Colorado, bypasses the downtown section of 
Paonia, passes through the tiny community of Somerset, traverses over McClure Pass at an 
elevation of 8,755 feet, then essentially parallels the Crystal River, and ultimately intersects with 
State Highway 82 in Carbondale, Colorado. 

During the past 20 years, several sections of State Highway 133 have been upgraded and/or 
relocated. A major section of State Highway 133 between Paonia and Somerset was relocated 
from the north side of the North Fork of the Gunnison River to the south side of the river. The 
old State Highway 133 remains in its original location and is used by local residents and 
employees/commercial traffic for the Bowie No. 1 Mine. 

The Colorado Department of Transportation has plans for continuing the upgrade and 
improvement of State Highway 133. A section of this highway east of the Paonia Reservoir in 
Gunnison County will be realigned and upgraded in 1999-2000. The Colorado Department of 
Transportation has no current plans to upgrade any sections of State Highway 133 in Delta 
County in the next five years. 

The state of Colorado is responsible for maintenance of State Highway 133. Periodically during 
the spring and summer months, sections of State Highway 133 can be closed as a result of 
mud slides or rock debris. The Colorado Department of Transportation has indicated that there 
are several sections of this road that have been affected by such activities, primarily in the 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-185 



Table 3.14-1 
Annual Average Daily Traffic - State Highways 92 and 133 




1996 1 


1998 2 
(Estimated) 


2000 2 
(Projected) 


2005 2 
(Projected) 


Highway 92 in Delta, just east of intersection 
with Highway 50 


12,600 


13,109 


13,604 


15,021 


Highway 92 in Hotchkiss, just south of 
intersection with Highway 133 


3,050 


3,173 


3,301 


3,644 


Highway 92 in Crawford 


1,850 


1,925 


2,003 


2,212 


Highway 133 in Hotchkiss, just east of 
intersection with Highway 92 


5,400 


5,618 


5,845 


6,454 


Highway 133 in Paonia, just east of 
intersection with Highway 187 


3,150 


3,277 3 
3,541 4 


3,41 3 
4,348 s 


3,765 3 
4,703 s 


Highway 1 33 just east of Somerset 


2,000 


2,081 


2,165 


2,390 


Highway 133, at base of McClure Pass, just 
south of road to Marble 


1,050 


1,102 


1,146 


1,265 


Highway 133, just south of Redstone 


1,650 


1,717 


1,786 


1,972 


Note: 1 . 1 996 data provided by Colorado Department of Transportation; this is list year for which Colorado 
Department of Transportation has ADT estimates. 

2. Assume 2% increase per year, approximately equal to average growth rate for Delta/Gunnison 
County over next 20 years, as projected by Colorado Department of Local Affairs. 

3. First number - assumes 2% increase as per footnote 2. 

4. This second figure assumes 1 34 additional ADT for coal truck traffic, 30 additional ADT for an 
increase in 15 people working at Bowie and Oxbow Mines, and 100 additional ADT for 
miscellaneous construction supplies and personnel, government traffic, consultants, sales 
representatives and the general public visiting the mines. These numbers represent the projected 
increase over 1996 levels. 

5. This second figure assumes an additional 938 ADT over standard 2% increase. This includes an 
additional 878 ADT for coal truck traffic, 50 additional ADT for an increase in 25 people working at 
the Bowie and Oxbow Mines, and 10 additional ADT for miscellaneous traffic as a result of 
government personnel visiting the mines, as well as consultants, engineering contractors, sales 
representatives, and the general public for visits and job searches. 



vicinity of the community of Redstone, the area adjacent to the Paonia Reservoir, and both 
sides of McClure Pass. 

3.14.2.2 Project Access 

Both the Bowie and the Oxbow operations are accessed from State Highway 133. The Oxbow 
operation can be accessed directly from State Highway 133 in the community of Somerset. 
The surface facilities of this operation are immediately north of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks 
which transect the town of Somerset. The surface facilities of the Bowie No. 1 operation are 
accessed from old State Highway 133, approximately 1 mile from a junction between old State 
Highway 133 and the relocated section of State Highway 133. This junction is approximately 3 
miles east of the community of Paonia. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-186 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.14.2.3 Roads on Lease Tracts and Exploration License Areas 

There are no all-weather roads on either lease tract or the exploration license area. The areas 
do have various light-duty roads that have been utilized for past exploration activities, hunting 
access, and miscellaneous agricultural purposes. The existing light-duty roads located on the 
lease tracts and exploration license area are narrow, primitive, and generally unsuitable for low 
clearance vehicles. 

3.14.2.4 Other Roads in the Region 

The downtown community of Paonia is reached by State Highway 187 which intersects State 
Highway 133 approximately 1 mile north of the downtown area. State Highway 187 is an 
asphalt, ail-weather, two-lane highway, which passes over the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
on a bridge structure. 

The town of Delta is connected with Hotchkiss by State Highway 92, which is also an asphalt, 
all-weather, two-lane highway. 

State Highway 50 joins Delta with Grand Junction (to the north) and Montrose (to the south). 
State Highway 50 between Delta and Montrose is an asphalt, all-weather divided four-lane 
highway. Between Grand Junction and Delta, State Highway 50 remains an asphalt, all- 
weather two-lane highway; however, there are plans by the Colorado Department of 
Transportation to upgrade portions of this highway section to a four-lane divided road. 

The Bowie No. 1 Mine is accessed from Paonia by the Stephens Gulch Road, which is an 
asphalt, all-weather, two-lane county road to the entrances of the Bowie No. 1 Mine. The 
Stephens Gulch Road has been paved with asphalt to the Bowie No. 1 Mine. Beyond the 
turnoff to the mine, the Stevens Gulch Road is unpaved. The overall condition of the Stephens 
Gulch Road should be considered as fair, and it requires routine maintenance. 

3.14.2.5 Union Pacific Railroad - North Fork Branch 

The mines in the North Fork of the Gunnison River valley are accessed by a railroad spur that 
connects a main Union Pacific line in Grand Junction, Colorado with the mining operations. 
This spur line is known as the North Fork Branch and is approximately 95.5 miles in length. 
The railroad passes through the communities of Delta, Hotchkiss, Paonia, and Somerset. 

In the town of Delta, the railroad crosses State Highway 50 immediately north of where State 
Highway 50 intersects with State Highway 92. 

Between Delta and Hotchkiss, the railroad crosses State Highway 92 at a location 
approximately 5 miles east of Hotchkiss. 

The railroad crosses State Highway 92 just west of the town of Hotchkiss, traverses through the 
middle of Hotchkiss, and crosses State Highway 133 on the east side of the town. 

The railroad is located south of State Highway 133 between Hotchkiss and Paonia, but the 
railroad passes through the community of Paonia with five crossings in this community. 
The railroad spur terminates near the West Elk Mine, which is located east of Somerset. There 
are loadout facilities along the North Fork Branch for the West Elk Mine, the Oxbow Sanborn 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-187 



Mine, the Terror Creek Coal Loadout, and the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. See Figure 31, Rail and 
Road System. 

In 1998, the Union Pacific Railroad indicated that 850 trains utilized the North Fork Branch. 
This translates to an average of 2.5 trains per day. In actuality during 1998, there were many 
days in which no trains traveled the route, and other days when six trains made trips on the 
North Fork Branch. The amount of traffic on the rail system was dictated by the demand of the 
coal operations and the availability of railroad cars (Connor, 1999, personal communication). 

The Union Pacific railroad estimated that 8.6 million tons of coal were shipped in 1998. This is 
up from the 6.8 million tons shipped by rail in 1995 but less than the 10.3 million tons of coal 
projected to be shipped in 1 999. See Table 3. 14-2, Coal Production From North Fork Valley 
Coal Mines. 



Table 3.14-2 
Coal Production From North Fork Valley Coal Mines 




1995 


1998 


1999 
(Projected) 


2000 
(Projected) 


2005 
(Projected) 


Bowie No. 1 Mine 
(Bowie Resources) 


0.5 


— 


— 


— 


... 


Bowie No. 2 Mine 
(Bowie Resources) 


— 


1.2 


1.8 


5.0 


5.0 


Sanborn & Elk Creek Mines 
(Oxbow Mining) 


1.1 


1.5 


1.5 


4.0 


6.0 


West Elk Mine 
(Mountain Coal) 


5.2 


5.9 


7.0 


7.3 


8.2 


TOTAL 


6.8 


8.6 


10.3 


16.3 


19.2 



The Union Pacific Railroad is responsible for maintenance of the North Fork Branch. The 
railroad has made a commitment to an improved railroad system, and such maintenance work 
was underway in 1 999 with replacement of track and ballast for many sections of the line. 

3.14.3 Environmental Consequences 

3.14.3.1 Summary 

Effects to State Highway 133 would result from an increase in daily coal truck traffic between 
the Bowie No. 2 Mine and the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. Effects to the North Fork Branch of the 
Union Pacific Railroad would result from increased rail traffic on the North Fork Branch to and 
from the Bowie No. 1 Loadout, the Oxbow Loadout, and the West Elk Mine Loadout. The 
magnitude and duration of effects associated with traffic related activities would depend on the 
amount of coal produced and sold from the mines. 

If coal production at the Bowie No. 2 Mine is increased from 1 .2 million tons in 1998 to a 
projected 5 million tons in 2000, ADT on State Highway 133 between the Bowie No. 2 Mine and 
the Bowie No. 1 Loadout would increase from 234 to 978, a 400 percent increase. In 1998, the 
coal truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine represented an estimated 7 percent of the traffic on 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-188 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

State Highway 133 between the mine and the loadout. If production is increased to 5 million 
tons a year in the year 2000 and beyond, the coal truck traffic would represent approximately 
21 or 22 percent of the total traffic on that stretch of State Highway 1 33 between the mine and 
the loadout. Other than coal truck traffic, other mine related traffic would involve only very 
minor increases to the ADT levels on State Highway 133 between Paonia and Somerset. 

Projections call for coal production to increase from the North Fork Valley coal mines from 1998 
to 2005. This production increase would relate to increased train traffic on the North Fork 
Branch. In 1998, with 8.6 million tons of coal shipped on the Union Pacific Railroad from the 
North Fork mines, there were an average of 4.4 trains per day (loaded and empty) traveling on 
the North Fork Branch. If production increases to 19.2 million tons in 2005, there would be an 
average of 10 trains per day (loaded and empty) on the same rail line. In 1998, it is estimated 
the average interval between trains was 5 hours and 27 seconds. If coal production increases 
to 19.2 million tons in the year 2005, the average interval between trains would be more than 
cut in half to 2 hours and 24 seconds. 

ADT is defined as the measure of traffic over a 24-hour period and is determined by counting 
the number of vehicles (or trains) passing a specific point from both directions on a given road 
or rail line. In assessing ADT levels for train and vehicular traffic in this North Fork Coal EIS, it 
is assumed that all traffic would return on the same day that was used for initial access; 
therefore, one vehicle going to and from (round trip) one of the mines in the area would result in 
an ADT of two. Similarly, it is assumed that a unit train traveling to a mine loadout would make 
one round trip per day, thus resulting in an ADT of two. 

3.14.3.2 Direct Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 

Effects to State Highway 133 - Iron Point Exploration License Area - Increases in traffic on 
State Highway 133 as a result of exploration activities in the Iron Point Exploration License area 
would be very minor and not noticeable. Such traffic would involve the daily use by geologists 
and drillers accessing the site. Such use is expected to add less than ten ADT levels to State 
Highway 133, which would represent less than one-half of one percent increase to any traffic 
loads. 

Effects to State highway 133 - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract - For purposes of this analysis, it 
is assumed that coal production from the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract would be mined from the 
existing Bowie No. 2 Mine portal area and hauled to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout using 28-ton 
trucks and portions of old State Highway 133 and new State Highway 133 between the mine 
and the loadout. Table 3. 14-2, Coal Production From North Fork Valley Coal Mines, illustrates 
that coal production from the Bowie No. 2 Mine is projected to increase from 1 .2 million tons in 
1998 to 5 million tons in 2000. As a result, coal truck traffic would increase on State Highway 
133 between the mine and the loadout as presented in Table 3. 14-1, Annual Average Daily 
Traffic - State Highways 92 and 133. Using 28-ton capacity highway coal trucks, incremental 
shipments of 500,000 tons of coal would require 98 ADT. Thus, the coal truck ADT can be 
calculated for 28-ton capacity trucks as shown on Table 3. 14-3, Coal Truck Traffic for 28-Ton 
and 45-Ton Truck Capacities, and is graphically illustrated on Figure 32, Coal Truck Traffic vs 
Coal Tonnage Shipped. The amount of coal trucked from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie 
No. 1 Loadout would be dependent on coal sales. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-189 



Table 3.14.3 
Coal Truck Traffic for 28-Ton and 45-Ton Truck Capacities 1 


Annual Coal Transported 
By Truck 2 (tons) 


ADT 3 
(28 tons/truck) 


ADT 3 
(45 tons/truck) 


500,000 


98 


61 


1,000,000 


196 


122 


2,000,000 


392 


244 


3,000,000 


588 


366 


4,000,000 


784 


488 


5,000,000 


980 


610 


Notes: 1 . For a geographic representation of this table, see Figure 32, Coal Truck Traffic vs. Coal Tonnage 
Shipped. 

2. This represents a range of coal tonnages that could be shipped from the Bowie no. 2 Mine via coal 
truck to the Bowie No. 1 . Mine. 

3. ADT is average daily traffic. For this table, the ADT values represent the number of times a coal 
truck would pass a fixed location on the highway. For example, at 98 ADT, this would relate to 49 
round trips (49 trips loaded with coal going from the mine to the train loadout and 49 trips returning 
empty from the train loadout to the mine). 



If coal production increases at the Bowie No. 2 Mine as indicated on Table 3. 14-2, Coal 
Production From the North Fork Valley Coal Mines, average daily truck traffic would increase 
from 234 ADT in 1998 to 978 ADT in 2000. The 234 coal truck ADT in 1998 represents an 
estimated 7 percent of ail vehicular ADT on State Highway 133 between the mine and the 
loadout. This figure would rise to 22 percent in the year 2000, when 978 coal truck ADT would 
be needed to ship the projected 5 million tons of coal. See Table 3. 14-4, Traffic Frequency 
Estimates on State Highway 133 East of Paonia. 

In 1998, the ADT for State Highway 133 between the Bowie No. 2 Mine and the Bowie No. 1 
Loadout was estimated at 3,541 . This translates to an average hourly traffic of 148 vehicles, or 
2.5 vehicles passing a fixed point along the road per minute. Of this traffic, there would be an 
average of 9.75 coal trucks per hour or an average of 0.16 coal trucks per minute. This 
translates to a coal truck passing a fixed point (either loaded with coal or empty) on State 
Highway 133 every 6.25 minutes. 

For 2000, it is estimated that the ADT for State Highway 133 between the Bowie No. 2 Mine 
and the Bowie No. 1 Loadout would be 4,348 vehicles. This would mean 181 vehicles passing 
a fixed location along this highway every hour, or an average of three vehicles per minute. If 
production from the Bowie No. 2 Mine reaches 5 million tons in the year 2000, ADT for coal 
trucks would be 978. This translates to 40.75 coal trucks per hour or 0.68 coal trucks per 
minute. Under this scenario, the interval between coal trucks along State Highway 133 
between the mine and the loadout would be less than 2 minutes. 

There would also be some addition to employee and supply traffic as a result of increases in 
coal production from the Bowie No. 2 Mine; however, this additional traffic should be minimal 
given only minor increases expected to employment. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Table 3.14-4 
Traffic Frequency Estimates on State Highway 133 East of Paonia (Colorado) 


Year 


All Vehicles 


Coal Trucks 


Average No. of 

Minutes 

Between 

Passing Coal 

Trucks 


Average Daily 
Traffic 1 


Average Hourly 
Traffic 2 


Average 

Traffic per 

Minute 3 


Average Daily 

Coal Truck 

Traffic" 


Average 

Hourly Coal 

Truck Traffic 2 


Average Coal 

Truck Traffic 

per Minute 3 


1996 


3,150 


141 


2.2 


— 


— 


— 


— 


1998 


3,541 


148 


2.5 


234 


9.75 


0.16 


6.25 


1999 


3,785 


158 


2.6 


352 


14.67 


0.24 


4.17 


2000 


3,348 


181 


3.0 


978 


40.75 


0.68 


1.47 


2005 


4,703 


196 


3.3 


978 


40.75 


0.68 


1.47 


Notes: 

1 . Average Daily Traffic is ADT. See Table 3.14-1 , Annual Average Daily Traffic - State Highways 92 and 133 

2. Based on 24 hour per day calculation. 

3. Based on 60 minute per hour calculation. 

4. Based on haulage in 28 ton capacity trucks and coal production estimates from Bowie No. 2 Mine as set forth in Table 3.14-2, Coal Production From 
North Fork Valley Coal Mines. 

5. Assumes 1 .2 million tons of coal shipped by 28 ton truck. 

6. Assumes 1 .8 million tons of coal shipped by 28 ton truck. 

7. Assumes 5.0 million tons of coal shipped by 28 ton truck. 

8. This number means that a person at a fixed location on State highway 133 between the Bowie No. 2 Mine and Bowie No. 1 Loadout would expect to 
see a coal truck pass his or her location, going up or down the highway, at this frequency. For example, in the year 2000 or 2005, at a 5 million ton 
production rate, a coal truck will pass a fixed point every minute and a half. 



C/) 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-191 

Development and extraction of the coal from the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract is not expected to 
cause exceedances of the design standard for traffic volume on State Highway 133, even with 
increased coal truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. 

Effects to State Highway 133 - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract - For purposes of this analysis, it 
is assumed that coal would be mined from the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract at levels shown on 
Table 3-14.2, Coal Production From North Fork Valley Coal Mine. As a result, employee and 
supply traffic associated with this mining would be similar to that already existing on State 
Highway 133 between Paonia and Somerset. 

Presently, Oxbow is shipping approximately 150,000 tons of coal per year to the Terror Creek 
Loadout. Oxbow owns and operates its own 28-ton capacity trucks. Assuming that coal is 
hauled to the Terror Creek Loadout for 250 days a year on an 8-hour shift, the ADT for this 
traffic would be 42 from Monday through Friday. There are no plans to increase this capacity, 
so coal truck traffic from the Oxbow facilities to the Terror Creek Loadout would probably 
remain the same, even in the event that the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract is developed. 

Development and extraction of the coal from the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract would not cause 
exceedances of the design standard for volume of traffic on State Highway 133. 

Effects on North Fork Branch of Union Pacific Railroad - It is assumed that all coal tonnage 
mined from either the Iron Point or the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would be shipped to market 
via the Union Pacific Railroad on the North Fork Branch. 

In 1998, a total of 8.6 million tons of coal were shipped on the Union Pacific Railroad from North 
Fork Coal Mines. This amounts to 1 .2 million tons from the Bowie No. 2 Mine, 1 .5 million tons 
from the Sanborn Creek Mine, and 5.9 million tons of coal from the West Elk Mine. A small 
amount of coal (150,000 tons) was shipped on the Union Pacific from the Terror Creek Loadout. 

Once in development, 5 million tons of coal would be produced from the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract, and a range of 4 to 6 miliion tons of coal would be produced from the Elk Creek Coal 
Lease Tract. 

Public Safety - There are an infinite number of accident scenarios that could be developed for 
the highway traffic and railroad transportation for projects in the North Fork Valley. Analysis of 
such scenarios would include varying levels of complexity and portray a variety of results. It is 
often difficult to talk about accidents in that we do not wish to be alarmists, but we do want to 
convey a reasonable assessment of the potential for accidents and the potential for impacts to 
public safety. 

For example, an accident assessment of a trip in an automobile or an airplane can be very 
frightening. We know that, but we prefer not to think about it, and we continue to take those 
trips anyway. However, the knowledge of a certain type of accident may persuade us to take 
extra precautions enroute. 

With the potential increase in daily traffic, particularly the increase in coal truck traffic from the 
Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout, it is reasonable to assume that accidents could 
increase over the life of any mining activities. However, the increase in accidents would 
probably not be directly proportional to the increase in traffic because mitigation measures 
would include a trucking company using trained drivers, the adherence of the coal trucks to 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-192 



Environmental Analysis 



September 1999 



speed limits and general public awareness of increased traffic. With mitigation measures such 
as these implemented, the accident rate (accidents per miles traveled) could actually decrease 
rather than increase. 

With the continuation and potential for increasing coal production from the North Fork Valley 
mines, there would be an increase in train traffic on the North Fork Branch of the railroad. See 
Table 3. 14-5, Unit Train Traffic Frequency on North Fork Branch, and Figure 33, Average Daily 
Coal Train Traffic for North Fork Branch. With the potential increase in daily coal train traffic, it 
is reasonable to assume that accidents could increase with increased train shipments. 
Certainly, with the increased train traffic, the potential for highway vehicles and train accidents 
at rail crossings would increase, as the interval frequency between trains entering and leaving 
the valley would increase with increased coal production. 



Table 13.14-5 
Unit Train Traffic Frequency on North Fork Branch 


Year 


Coal Shipped 
(tons x 000,000) 


Average number of 

Trains Per Day 

(loaded & empty) 


Average Interval 
Between Trains 


1995 


6.8 


3.6 


6 hr40 min 


1998 


8.6 


4.4 


5 hr 27 sec 


1999 


10.3 


5.4 


4 hr 26 sec 


2000 


16.3 


8.6 


2 hr 47 sec 


2005 


19.2 


10.0 


2 hr 24 sec 



Likewise, with the number of increased coal trains frequenting the North Fork Branch, there is a 
potential for derailments. Although rare, train derailments have occurred in populated areas, 
causing property damage and even fatalities. Train derailments can also cause brush fires in 
areas along trackage, which could endanger property and personal safety. 

However, similar to increases in highway traffic, the increase in railroad accidents may not be 
directly proportional to the increase in coal train traffic because of mitigation measures which 
might include lower speeds in populated areas, newly installed warning signals or lights at train 
crossings, better gates at train crossings, the elimination of crossings, upgrade of the railroad 
line, and general public awareness of increased train traffic. With mitigation measures 
implemented, the potential for accidents could actually decrease rather than increase, even 
though coal train traffic increases. 

Delays at train crossings can also have an impact on public safety. Ambulance service, as well 
as police and fire response times could be delayed five to seven minutes when crossings are 
blocked. To date, little direct impact to these services has been experienced, although few 
cases of trains causing serious delays to emergency medical services have been documented. 
When and where possible, emergency vehicles can detour to access unblocked crossings and 
go around the trains. There has been a report from the local fire department that over the past 
seven years a house burned down in Paonia as fire trucks waited for a train to pass. With 
increased railroad traffic, there is an increased potential that emergency vehicles could be 
delayed in the future. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-19 3 

There is another aspect of trains and the public. Although not labeled as a public safety 
problem, the increased train traffic on the North Fork Branch may also lead to increased public 
frustration as people are stopped more frequently for passing trains. Although this is not 
necessarily a public safety concern, it could become one, if frustrated motorists try to "beat" the 
train to a crossing. This scenario actually happened in the spring of 1999 in the state of Illinois 
when a semi truck went around gates at a railroad crossing and was involved in an accident 
with Amtrak, resulting in fatalities. As noted from several scoping comments received on the 
project, certain individuals expressed anxieties about increased train traffic and increased 
delays at road/train crossing areas. One commentor suggested that senior citizens at the 
senior nursing facility in Hotchkiss north of the track felt anxiety that they may not get necessary 
medical treatment in the case of an emergency vehicle being delayed as a train passes through 
Hotchkiss blocking access. 

There was also concern about increased frustration when train traffic blocks rush hours on the 
highways. For example, businesses in Delta note delays for customers and suppliers to their 
businesses as trains pass through Delta, blocking State Highway 50. 

Presently, the train engineer can not talk to local citizens or local emergency service, fire, or 
police officials. In order to contact the train engineer, local officials must communicate with the 
train dispatcher in Grand Junction. Public safety may be jeopardized in the time needed for 
communicating from emergency service providers to the dispatcher back to the train engineer. 
When "time is of the essence," such as stopping a train before it reaches a crossing or 
uncoupling a train to allow for some emergency response, the need for improved 
communication with local emergency departments and the train engineer might be beneficial. 

Environmental Safety - Most supplies and materials needed for the mining operations would 
be purchased from vendors outside Delta and Gunnison counties. Fortunately, coal mines do 
not require hazardous chemical materials for their operations; however, diesel fuel, limestone 
(rock dust), minor amounts of explosives, and maintenance supplies such as grease cleaners, 
antifreeze, etc. are transported to the sites. These materials would be transported in 
conformance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. Accident prevention would 
be the principal objective during transportation of any supplies to the site. 

Impacts to soils, surface water and groundwater resources, and wildlife could result from 
accidental spills or train derailments. Any spills or derailments would be cleaned up and the 
contaminated soils disposed of or rehabilitated as specified in SPCC plans. 

Long-Term Maintenance - Under all alternatives, portions of State Highway 133 and the North 
Fork Branch would experience increased traffic. Such traffic could increase the need for 
maintenance during operations. The state of Colorado budgets $110 million per year for state- 
wide maintenance. Region 3 of the Colorado Department of Transportation, which would 
maintain State Highway 133, has a budget of $20 million per year for maintenance. This 
maintenance budget must handle approximately 2,000 miles of roads in Region 3. At present, 
there are no revenues in the current five year plan of the Colorado Department of 

Transportation for improvements to State Highway 133 between Paonia and Somerset; 
however, funds are available for ongoing maintenance. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-194 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

The Union Pacific Railroad has made a commitment to rail service to the North Fork mines, and 
this commitment would translate to increased maintenance on the North Fork Branch (Paul 
Connor, 1999, personal communication) 

3.14.3.3 Indirect Effects Common to All Alternatives 

Indirect effects to the transportation network, specifically in Delta County, might result from 
additional non-work related trips made by new persons (workers and their families) that would 
move into the region as a result of the coal mining operations. This might include new workers 
hired at the mines, workers hired to be employed in the service industry in the region, or simply 
people looking for potential jobs associated with the mining activities. The increase in traffic, 
however, would probably be dispersed throughout Delta County and would not be concentrated 
on State Highway 133 between Paonia and Somerset. Therefore, this traffic would only be a 
minor component in the cumulative impacts on any roads near the proposed mine sites. 

3.14.3.4 Cumulative Effects Common to All Alternatives 

Projected traffic associated with mining the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would 
be combined with other traffic in the area on State Highway 133. Such traffic would come from 
continued mining at the West Elk Mine, future exploration activities, recreational users, and 
residential traffic. All of this traffic would result in some cumulative effects. As shown on Table 
3. 14-1, Annual Average Daily Traffic - State Highway 92 and 133, it is assumed that there 
would be a 2 percent increase per year on the local highway systems in Delta County, 
approximately equal to the average growth rate projected for Delta County over the next 20 
years. 

The traffic resulting from adjacent and surrounding activities would increase the traffic volume 
on State Highway 133 and would add to the possibility of accidents. 

Even with the projected traffic volumes for State Highway 133, such activities would not affect 
the operational conditions or exceed the design parameters of traffic for State Highway 133. 

3.14.3.5 Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

These would be the same as discussed in Section 3.14.3.2, Direct Effects Common to All 
Alternatives. If the exploration license is denied and the coal lease tracts are not issued, 
mining operations in the North Fork Valley would continue. Production rates could reach the 
levels set forth in Table 3. 14-2, Coal Production From North Fork Valley Coal Mines; however, 
the mining operations would probably be of shorter duration, thus causing any impacts to be 
over a shorter time period. 

3.14.3.6 Effects of Alternative B, C, and D 

Same as discussed in Section 3.14.3.2, Direct Effects Common to All Alternatives. The only 
differences anticipated between these three alternatives might be the duration of mining. For 
example, if multiple seam mining is allowed under Alternative C, the duration of mining would 
be greater than Alternative B. Similarly, the mining under Alternative D would be greater than 
Alternative B, but may be less than Alternative C as certain areas are protected from 
subsidence, thus minimizing the amount of coal mined in certain selected areas. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 






September 1999 Chapter 3 p age 3-195 

3.14.4 Other Transportation Options 

As discussed in Section 2.7, Transportation Options, scoping commentors requested that 
options be discussed to two main issues: 

► Coal truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout; and 

► The ability of the Union Pacific Railroad to handle increased coal tonnage from the 
mines in the North Fork Valley. 

In response to these issues, the effects of certain options are discussed below. 

3.14.4.1 Issuance of Only One Lease 

The issuance of only one of the two leases in the North Fork Valley may, or may not, have any 
effect on total coal production from the North Fork Valley. The mines in the North Fork Valley 
have all indicated their plans to increase coal production from their existing operations. See 
Table 3. 14-2, Coal Production From North Fork Valley Coal Mines. Given other federal and 
private reserves in the area, issuing only either the Iron Point or the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 
does not guarantee that there would be less coal production, or less highway coal truck or 
railroad traffic in the region. 

3.14.4.2 Production Limits 

There were comments received during scoping about the potential of setting production limits 
on the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. Setting such limits does not guarantee that 
coal production from the North Fork Valley would be limited. However, setting production limits 
could greatly impact, and possibly hinder, the economics of mining, particularly the economical 
production levels required by longwall mining. See Appendix E, Mining Economics. In setting 
production limits on the Iron Point or Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, mining companies may 
choose to look at adjacent private or existing federal reserves for mining operations. In 
addition, in setting production limits, the federal government may not receive full royalties from 
coal and may hinder the maximum recovery of the coal resource. 

3.14.4.3 Increase Capacity of Highway Coal Trucks 

At present, both Bowie and Oxbow are using highway coal trucks with the capacity to haul 28 
tons of coal. There has been some discussion about the potential of increasing that capacity to 
45-ton highway trucks. Such an increase would require approval of the Colorado Department 
of Transportation, if such larger capacity trucks are to use State Highway 133. 

If possible to increase tonnage from 28 to 45 tons per truck, the ADT for coal haulage would be 
less. See Figure 32, Coal Truck Traffic vs Coal Tonnage Shipped. For example, at a coal 
production level of 5 million tons per year there would be 978 ADT for 28-ton trucks as 
compared 608 ADT for 45-ton trucks. This would result in a reduction of 370 ADT, or 
approximately a 38 percent reduction in coal truck traffic. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-196 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

3.14.4.4 New Rail Loadout Adjacent to Bowie No. 2 Mine 

One way to eliminate coal truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout 
would be the construction of a new rail loadout adjacent to the Bowie No. 2 Mine that would 
replace the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. This action would reduce coal truck traffic. At a production 
level of 5 million tons per year using 28-ton trucks 978 ADT would be eliminated. Similarly, at 
lesser production rates, the ADT for coal truck traffic would be reduced. See Figure 32, Coal 
Truck Traffic vs. Coal Tonnage Shipped. 

Elimination of coal truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout has the 
potential to decrease highway traffic by approximately 21 to 22 percent at a production rate of 5 
million tons per year. However, this increased coal truck traffic (at the 5 million ton per year 
rate) would not affect the operation and design limits of State Highway 133. Similarly, reduction 
of traffic would decrease to the potential for less accidents, but to what specific amount is 
difficult to actually quantify. 

Construction of a new railroad loadout at the Bowie No. 2 Mine would not be without its own 
effects. There would be a financial effect to any company constructing such a facility. See 
Appendix E, Mining Economics. Similarly, there would be disturbances associated with the 
construction of a new rail loadout facility. An additional 15 to 25 acres of surface would be 
disturbed for such facilities. Topsoil would be removed prior to construction, and the area 
would be removed from its current use for agricultural, wildlife, or residential use. With the 
construction of such a facility, there would be an increased potential for erosion and 
sedimentation, thus having a potential to impact water quality and fisheries. Such facilities 
could also have aesthetics and noise impacts. 

3.14.4.5 Separate Haul Road 

To eliminate coal truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout, it was 
suggested that a separate, stand-alone haul road be constructed, and off-highway coal trucks 
be utilized. Similar to the discussion in Section 3.1 4.4.4, New Railroad Loadout Adjacent to 
Bowie No. 2 Mine, this option would eliminate highway coal truck transportation on 
approximately 3 miles of State Highway 133; however, this option is not without impacts of its 
own. 

The construction of a stand-alone haul road for 3 miles would probably disturb 50 to 1 50 acres, 
depending on its location and the amount of "cut and fill." Similarly, there would be increased 
noise and air pollution from coal haulage. There would be the need to acquire the right-of-way 
and build the road, which could cause increased sedimentation and impacts to wetland/riparian 
areas. The area in the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley is constricted, and any 
construction of a separate stand-alone haul road might require substantial cuts and fills. There 
would also probably be the need to have an overpass or underpass on State Highway 133 to 
prevent the large off-highway coal haulers from interfering with normal traffic on State Highway 
133. 

3.14.4.6 Conveyor 

This option would be similar to a separate haul road as discussed in Section 3.14.4.5, Separate 
Haul Road. Constructing a conveyor from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the Bowie No. 1 Loadout 
would have similar constraints, although a conveyor right-of-way would be much narrower than 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-1 97 

a haul road corridor. Construction of a conveyor over a 3 mile distance in this area would 
probably impact 10 to 20 acres. 

3.14.4.7 Capacity of North Fork Branch 

With its current configuration, the North Fork Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad can handle 
up to 20 million tons of coal production per year and six trains per day (round trip) from the 
North Fork mines (Paul Connor, 1999 personal communication). The North Fork Branch could 
handle coal tonnage greater than 20 million tons per year, but additional railroad sitings would 
be needed to allow increased train traffic. 

3.14.5 Possible Mitigation and Monitoring 

The primary goal of any mitigation program with regard to transportation would be focused on 
reducing the potential for accidents. In this light, the following suggestions are made: 

1 . Place increased signage on State Highway 133 between Paonia and the West Elk 
Mine; this signage would be effective in warning motorists that heavy truck traffic is 
possible over this stretch of highway. 

2. Post reduced speed signs for the stretch of State Highway 1 33 between the Bowie 
No. 2 Mine and the Bowie No. 1 Loadout. This would also be effective in lowering 
noise levels. 

3. Improve the ingress and egress areas of the Bowie No. 1 Loadout on to State 
Highway 133 to provide for better visibility and/or easier merging of coal truck traffic 
with existing traffic. 

4. One way to reduce the potential for accidents at railroad crossings with roads is to 
eliminate the potential for train-vehicle interaction. The potential of closing certain 
crossings, specifically in Paonia, would be effective and could be evaluated. The 
communities could target priorities for highway/railroad crossings. With such 
priorities, the appropriate officials and groups cold work to obtain federal or state 
funds to improve the signage or lighting at railroad crossings. 

Certain crossings might be targeted for grade separation, that is the construction of 
an overpass (or underpass), which would be effective in separating the railroad from 
the highway. Construction costs could approach $1 0,000,000 for such an 
undertaking. 

Another option would be the re-routing of train traffic around populated areas, such 
as the communities of Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Delta. This would eliminate rail traffic 
within the towns. Estimated costs for this option could involve $1-5,000,000 per mile 
of new construction, as well as certain environmental consequences (disturbances to 
wetlands and/or wildlife habitats, erosion and sedimentation potential, aesthetics, 
etc.). 

5. Although most emergency service providers understand and have considered the 
need for providing emergency services on each side of the tracks, with increased 
coal shipments on the railroad, this need should be re-examined. In some cases, 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-198 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

the emergency service providers may need additional emergency equipment and 
personnel on either side of the tracks, available to respond in an emergency 
situation. 

6. Improved communication capabilities between the Union Pacific Railroad and local 
emergency service providers would be beneficial. In emergency situations, rapid 
communication is always essential in minimizing or preventing property damage and 
fatalities. 

7. Awareness can lead to less accidents. Government officials, the Union Pacific 
Railroad, the mining companies, and concerned citizen groups should continue their 
efforts to educate employees, the general public, and visitors to the area about 
highway safety and accident prevention. Increased awareness can be effective and 
result in lower accident rates. 

3.15 SOCIOECONOMICS 

Issue: Address the social and economic impacts on local residents of Delta and Gunnison 
counties. Areas of concern include: impacts to nearby communities as the result of mine 
closures or continuation of mining and such impacts on housing, utilities, employment, public 
services, community services, and present lifestyles; the effect of mine closure on workers and 
their families; the influx of new workers if production rates increase; and, the effects of 
temporary and permanent mine shut down. 

3.15.1 Introduction 

This section provides an overview of the socioeconomic aspects of the existing conditions of 
the area, as well as the impacts associated with pending decisions on the proposed coal 
exploration license and lease applications. The discussion in this section differs from previous 
sections. The analysis will compare the potential impacts for all alternatives, including the No- 
Action Alternative, to the existing conditions. It was felt that portrayal of information in this 
fashion would be more informative to the reader and the decision makers. 

For purposes of the socioeconomic assessment, primary, secondary, and tertiary study areas 
are defined as follows: 

► The primary study area is the geographic area that is anticipated to be most directly 
affected by the potential project. This is defined to include all communities within 
Delta County. 

► The secondary study area is the geographic area expected to be indirectly affected 
by the potential project. This area covers all of Delta and Gunnison Counties. 

► The tertiary study area covers an even larger geographic area that is expected to 
experience broader cumulative social effects and provide a context for other non- 
mine related changes occurring in the primary and secondary study areas. For this 
analysis, the tertiary study area is defined to include the seven-county central 
western slope area of Delta, Gunnison, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, and San 
Miguel. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3- 199 

Additional details regarding the socioeconomics of the area are set forth in Appendix L, 
Socioeconomic Report. 

3.15.2 Existing Conditions 

The discussion of existing conditions provides a review of existing conditions in area 
communities. This baseline assessment is then used to measure potential economic and fiscal 
impacts associated with each project alternatives. 

3.15.2.1 Population 

As of 1998, approximately 26,600 residents live in Delta County, the primary study area. 
Population has increased by 3 percent annually since 1990. This rate of growth is faster than 
the rate of growth occurring in the broader secondary and tertiary study areas as well as 
statewide. 

The City of Delta is the largest incorporated community in the primary study area with 5,600 
residents residing within the city limits; this amounts to 21 percent of all residents living in the 
primary study area. After Delta, the next largest cities are Orchard City, Cedaredge, Paonia, 
Hotchkiss and Crawford, respectively. Together, the incorporated communities within the 
primary study area account for nearly 50 percent of total Delta County population. 

The two-county secondary study area has a combined population of 39,075 as of 1998. 
Secondary study area population has increased at an average rate of 2.8 percent annually 
since 1990, with the greatest increase occurring between 1993 to1995. 

At any given time, an estimated range of 88 to 96 percent of Bowie, Oxbow (Sanborn) and 
West Elk mine employees live in Delta County. A range of 56 to 67 percent of mine employees 
typically live in the Paonia/Hotchkiss area. 

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs forecasts that Delta County's population can be 
expected to increase by another 16,000 residents over the next 20+ years. This equates to an 
average growth rate of 2.2 percent annually, a rate of growth below what has occurred over the 
last eight years. Population in the secondary study area is forecast to grow at a similar rate 
annually (2.1 percent). 

3.15.2.2 Housing 

Current household size in the primary study area is 2.4 persons per household. Household size 
in the primary study area has been declining, the result of a transition to smaller families. 
In 1997, 347 single family homes were sold in Delta County, 176 fewer sales than in 1994. This 
decline in sales volume corresponds with slowing net in-migration of new residents. Average 
sales price of a single family home in Delta County varies by community. Highest priced homes 
can be found in the Cedaredge and Paonia areas. The reported average sales price in the 
Paonia area has declined from $139,900 in 1995 to $89,800 in 1997. 

3.15.2.3 Demographic Characteristics 

An estimated 1 1 .7 percent of the residents living in the primary study area represent racial and 
ethnic minorities, above the proportion in secondary study area (at 9.9 percent), but well below 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-200 Environmental Analysis September 199 9 

statewide levels (at 21 .0 percent). Hispanic residents represent the largest minority/ethnic 
group, accounting for 10.5 percent of Delta County's population. 

Primary study area residents tend to be older than secondary study area residents. Almost 49 
percent of primary study area residents are age 45 and older, compared to 41 percent in the 
secondary study area. The primary study area population also is aging. Over 69 percent of the 
population growth in the primary study area comes from persons aged 45 and older. Seniors 
(65+) account for 23 percent of all new residents. 

3.15.2.4 Employment and Economic Conditions 

Participation in the Delta County labor force is well below labor forces participation rates in the 
larger secondary study area and statewide. In 1997, only 50 percent of the population age 1 6 
and older in Delta County was employed or actively seeking employment. In the secondary 
study area, 60 percent of residents age 16 and older were employed or seeking employment. 
As of April 1999, the unemployment rate in Delta County was 5.9 percent, more than twice the 
statewide rate of 2.7 percent. Local unemployment consistently runs about VA to 2 percentage 
points above the statewide average. 

Delta County population migration appears to closely parallel employment growth. Years of 
greatest net out-migration coincide with years of significant job losses, illustrating that when 
Delta County loses jobs, local population growth tends to slow or decline. 

In 1996, approximately 1 1 ,370 workers were employed in Delta County (including self- 
employed). Employment has increased by almost 27 percent since 1980. Fastest-growing 
industries include services (+98 percent), wholesale trade (+78 percent), and construction (+62 
percent). The only industries reporting a decrease in employment since 1980 are agriculture 
and farm (-20 percent), finance, insurance, and real estate (-23 percent), and mining industries 
(-65 percent). 

As of 1996, self-employment is estimated to represent the largest single job sector in Delta 
County. Over 30 percent of all workers are self-employed (non-farm), a greater proportion than 
in the secondary study area or statewide. The number of non-farm self-employed workers 
increased by 21 percent between 1980 and 1996 in Delta County. 

Over the last 17 years, the coal mining industry in Delta County, as well as in the secondary 
study area and statewide, has undergone a period of economic restructuring. In 1981 , nine 
active coal mines produced almost 3.0 million tons of coal in the secondary study area 
(covering Delta and Gunnison Counties), representing 15 percent of total production statewide. 

By 1986, only three active mines remained producing 1.3 million tons of coal, representing only 
8 percent of statewide production. 

Since 1986, the coal mining industry in the secondary study area has rebounded. However, the 
primary production of coal has shifted towards Gunnison County. The two county secondary 
study area is now producing almost 30 percent of the state's coal. 

Both Delta and Gunnison counties have experienced substantial employment growth from 1980 
to1996. This overall employment growth has occurred even as mining-related employment has 
declined, leading to a more diverse economy in both the primary and secondary study areas. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-201 

While mine employment has declined, mines have restructured to achieve substantially greater 
productivity in a more competitive domestic and global market. 

3.15.2.5 Income 

In 1996, personal income per capita in Delta County averaged $16,400 (after adjusting for 
inflation), 4 percent below the $17,000 per person living in the secondary study area and 36 
percent below $25,700 average experienced statewide. Personal income is the amount of 
income an individual receives annually before taxes. It includes wages, salaries, proprietor's 
income, other labor income, investment income, and transfer payments. Between 1 980 and 
1996, personal income per capita in Delta County increased by 19 percent, compared to 24 
percent in the secondary study area and 33 percent statewide. 

As of 1 996, residents in Delta County earn less in wages, salary and proprietor's income than 
from transfer payments (e.g., retirement, unemployment insurance, government payments) and 
investment income. Only 32 percent of personal income is from wage and salary sources, down 
from 36 percent in 1980. 

In 1996, average wage per worker in Delta County was $15,700 compared to $17,100 in the 
entire secondary study area and $28,400 statewide. Highest-paid wages were in the mining 
sector where the average Delta County worker earned $47,600, more than three times the 
county wage average for all sectors and $18,400 above the next highest paying sector. 

3.15.2.6 Community and Public Services 

As part of the EIS process, area community and public service providers were contacted to 
ascertain information regarding current services provided together with possible public service 
effects due to prospective changes in mining activities in the Bowie and Somerset areas of 
Delta and Gunnison counties. This assessment focuses on the primary study area in Delta 
County, where the majority of mine employees currently reside. 

County Governance - The primary study area consists of six incorporated communities, with 
the rural unincorporated portion of Delta County under the auspices of county government. The 
Iron Point Exploration License Area, the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract, and a portion of the Elk 
Creek Coal Lease Tract are situated in unincorporated Delta County. A portion of the Elk Creek 
Coal Lease Tract extends into unincorporated Gunnison County. 

Education - Public education service providers in the primary study area include the Delta 
County Joint School District, the Gunnison Watershed School District and the Delta-Montrose 
Area Vocational Technical Center. Most children of current mine employees attend Delta 
County Joint School District schools. The Delta County Joint School District serves nearly 4,700 
households in Delta County and portions of Montrose, Gunnison and Mesa Counties with 14 
schools and a vocational technology school. 

Enrollment has not increased in the past three years. Overall, the 14 schools in the district are 
operating at 71 to 73 percent of the indicated 6,400 to 6,500 facility capacity. One school 
(Garnet Mesa Elementary) is at full capacity and another school (Hotchkiss Middle School) is 
operating at less than 50 percent of indicated enrollment capacity. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-202 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

Area schools also provide services of importance to coal mines operating in Delta and 
Gunnison Counties. The Delta-Montrose Area Vocational Technical Center, 5 miles south of 
Delta, provides training for mine workers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics 
and OSHA certification. 

Ambulance Services - Delta County ambulance service is divided between the North Fork 
Ambulance Service (serving Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford) and the Delta County Ambulance 
Service (serving Cedaredge, Orchard City and Delta). These ambulance services provide basic 
life support, emergency care, and transport. 

To date, little direct impact to ambulance service reportedly has been experienced due to mine 
operations and associated unit train traffic. Generally, delays tend to last five to seven minutes; 
however, not all train crossings are blocked at the same time. Emergency vehicles typically can 
access unblocked crossings and go around the trains. To help minimize any serious delays due 
to possible train blockages, communities in the Delta County Ambulance District alternate the 
side of the rail line on which the ambulance is parked. 

The Delta County Ambulance Service has no arrangement with the mines for service. Mines 
have on-site first aid staff or EMT personnel and ambulances. 

Fire Protection - Each Delta County incorporated jurisdiction and of the unincorporated county 
is part of a fire district. Five fire districts serve the primary study area and the Somerset portion 
of Gunnison County. 

Paonia Fire District 2 (closest to the North Fork mines) provides fire and rescue services to a 
population of approximately 5,000 in a 30,500-acre (48 square mile) area. Recent voter 
approval to double the mill levy indicates the community's commitment to and awareness of the 
services provided. 

Law Enforcement - A combination of county sheriff and city police departments provide law 
enforcement services in the primary and secondary study areas. The police forces of the towns 
of Paonia, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge and Delta work cooperatively with the Delta County Sheriff's 
Department, while the communities of Crawford and Orchard City rely completely on the 
Sheriff's Department because they do not have police departments of their own. 

Water Supply, Wastewater Treatment and Solid Waste - Municipal water service is provided 
for each of the incorporated cities in the primary study area of Delta County. Municipal sewage 
and wastewater treatment is provided in all of the incorporated communities except Orchard 
City. In rural areas, with the exception of portions of the Paonia and Cedaredge rural areas, 
residents rely on private domestic or community water systems. 

Delta County has an EPA-approved landfill in the Tongue Creek area, with a transfer station in 
the North Fork area. Solid waste service is available through private contractors in all 
communities. 

Paonia's public works priority is to build a new sewage treatment plant to come into compliance 
with EPA regulations. The city is also studying additional water storage capacity. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-203 

Approximately 22 households in Somerset are on a sewage system, with the remainder of the 
community served by septic tanks. This sewage system is near capacity, and many 
households with septic tanks would like to come on the sewage system. 

Crawford's lagoon is at 25 percent of capacity according to EPA standards, and the town is 
planning more water lines. The town is planning an expansion of the sewer ponds. 

Hotchkiss water and sewer systems currently have capacity to serve added growth. With 
stricter EPA regulations and the anticipated need for more water storage, the town is currently 
conducting a water study. The study is due to be finished by the end of 1999. 

Delta's sewage treatment plant is approximately 15 years old and operates well below available 
capacity. Delta buys water from the Project 7 water supply in Montrose. Project 7 treatment 
plant capacity is questionable. The plant was not built to meet new regulations, and Project 7 
plans to expand the water treatment plant and to add storage. 

In Orchard City, a new building for water filtration is under construction at an estimated cost of 
more than $750,000. 

Cedaredge's updated water treatment plant is one of three national finalists for a national EPA 
award for Most Improved Small System Wastewater Treatment. The plant is near capacity, so 
the city is considering further enlargement updating or the construction of a new plant at a 
different location. 

Hospital and Medical Services - Delta Hospital, in Delta, operates as a full-service, general 
acute care hospital with 49 beds, home health care, a staff of 28 doctors, and 198 full-time and 
89 part-time employees. The hospital's primary service area comprises Delta County together 
with the communities of Olathe in Montrose County and Somerset in Gunnison County. 

Electrical Utilities - Tri-State Power generates and sells power to 32 member stations 
throughout Colorado. These include Delta Montrose Electric Association and Gunnison Electric 
within the primary and secondary study areas. Delta Montrose Electric's service area includes 
East Montrose County, western Gunnison County, and all of Delta County. North Fork area 
mines are paying members of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association. 

To accommodate operating mines, the co-op has made several changes over the years, such 
as upgrading Waunita, the sub-station located near Bowie that serves the North Fork mines. 
Delivery points and land taps were added. 

Social Services - Delta County Social Services provides public assistance to low-income 
families and the elderly. Overall, case loads are decreasing except for assistance to the elderly 
which has been increasing. 

Roads - Jn the Paonia-Hotchkiss-Crawford area, most of the truck traffic is not mine-related. 
Coal is primarily moved by train. The exception is truck traffic from the Bowie No. 2 Mine to the 
Bowie No. 1 Loadout. Highway 133 is considered a scenic route and is traveled by tourists. 

According to a variety of local community and public service providers contacted for this 
socioeconomic assessment, train blockage represents an issue of concern related to current 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-204 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

and prospective mine operations. For example, EMT service can be delayed five to seven 
minutes when crossings are blocked. 

3.15.2.7 Fiscal Conditions 

The federal government receives revenue from land and mineral rights leases, as well as 
royalties. The State of Colorado receives tax revenues primarily from federal royalties, sales, 
severance, and income taxes. Local governmental entities receive property, sales, and 
severance taxes, as well as a share of the federal royalties. 

State of Colorado Revenues - Net state and local revenue collections in Colorado totaled $6.3 
billion in 1998. Severance tax, which gets redistributed back to local jurisdictions, accounts for 
only 1 percent of all Colorado tax collections statewide. 

County Revenues and Expenses - Taxes represent 69 percent of total county revenues in 
Delta County and 64 percent of revenues in Gunnison County. Tax revenues also are 
increasing more rapidly than all revenues combined. 

On the expenditure side, general governmental expenditures account for 55 percent of county 
expenditures in Delta County and 59 percent in Gunnison County. Growth of general 
governmental expenditure also is outpacing total expenditures in both counties. Education is 
the top expenditure in both Delta and Gunnison Counties Public safety represents the number 
two expenditure item in both counties. 

Retail Sales Tax - While Gunnison County has fewer permanent year-round residents than 
Delta County, the level of retail sales is higher in Gunnison County than Delta County, at $358.8 
million versus $289.2 million respectively. Higher retail sales levels in Gunnison County are 
primarily due to a substantially larger tourism industry than Delta County. 

Businesses within the City of Delta captured over $161 million worth of retail sales in 1998, 
representing 56 percent of all retail sales in Delta County. 

Property Tax - In 1998, over $8.6 million in property taxes were collected in Delta County. 
Almost 48 percent came from residential properties, the largest source of property tax 
revenues. Total tax assessed valuation for Delta County (as of 1998) was $167.1 million. 

In 1998, coal mines represented $5.7 million of Delta County assessed valuation and $31 .5 
million in Gunnison County for a combined valuation of $37.2 million. Railroads serving the coal 
mines within the secondary study area also constitute a major property tax revenue source. In 
1998, their assessed Delta County value totaled $4.1 million. 

Severance Tax- In 1998, Colorado coal mines generated over $9.3 million in severance tax 
revenues. Since 1989, the long term trend in severance taxes paid in Colorado generally was 
up, but with significant year-to-year variations. 

Because much of the mine activity is located outside the communities where mine employees 
live, Colorado has implemented a severance tax to help communities pay for services provided 
to mine employees. Based on state severance tax records, 278 mine employees live in Delta 
County. State severance tax records also showed that nearly 47 percent of these employees 
live in Paonia, which received almost $51 ,800 in severance taxes in 1998. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-205 

Federal Royalties - In 1998, coal mines in Delta County generated $742,400 in federal 
royalties. One-half of this amount was returned to Delta County. The mines in Gunnison County 
generated over $6.6 million in royalties; Gunnison County received one-half or $3.3 million. 

Energy Impact Grant Program - An energy impact grant program is available to Colorado 
communities to fund projects ranging from bridges to recreation. Funds for this program come 
from a variety of sources. Available funds statewide totaled $12 million in 1998. 

3.15.2.8 Recreation 

Tourism plays a larger role in the Gunnison County economy than in Delta County because of 
mountain-oriented resort activity. Gunnison County has several resort communities, Crested 
Butte being one of them. 

In 1997, tourists spent nearly $21 .4 million in Delta County. Over $130 million was spent by 
tourists in the entire secondary study area, 84 percent captured by Gunnison County. 

Travel spending in Delta County generates about 380 jobs, half of which occurs with dining 
establishments. Average wage in the tourism sector is $10,200 per year, $5,500 less than the 
average wage for all Delta County workers. Approximately 1 ,920 jobs are supported by travel 
spending in the two-county secondary study area. 

3.15.2.9 Social Values 

By combining community and public service information with psycographic data, it is possible to 
arrive at several overall observations regarding social values of the Delta County rural 
communities most directly connected to current and potential future mining activities: 

► Communities along the North Fork of the Gunnison River have a long history with 
coal mining extending back to the late 1800s; however, like much of the American 
West, the primary study area of Delta County is in transition both economically and 
culturally. Local communities are becoming more diversified with less dependence 
on coal mining as a source of income but with continued economic benefits from the 
relatively high-wage jobs associated with mining. 

► The primary study area has not yet experienced the rapid in-migration occurring 
elsewhere in counties of Colorado's central western slope region; however, there is 
evidence of growing difference in social values of newcomers versus long-time 
residents. It is generally believed that newer residents are less supportive of 
traditional rural area natural resource activities, includes ranching, farming, logging 
and mining. 

► In Delta County, over 60 percent of households are identified with demographic and 
lifestyle characteristics of "rustic living." These households tend to come from a 
tradition and/or remain actively involved in making a living from the land, including 
agriculture, logging mining and construction. Households who fit in this "rustic living" 
category comprise only 17 percent of the central western slope and 5 percent of all 
Colorado households, and are therefore less likely to represent in-migrants to Delta 
County. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-206 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

- A number of primary study area residents tend to value the economic opportunity 
represented by North Fork mining activity. However, expanded coal mining also 
raises concerns of potential negative lifestyle effects. These concerns include issues 
such as train noise/crossing blockage, and effects of future temporary or future 
closures on mine workers, their families and affected communities. 

► Whether or not coal mining is viewed as having a positive or negative effect on 
quality of life depends on the values that receive greatest emphasis from different 
residents of the North Fork region. Those who place greater emphasis on the 
economic stimulus and continued job opportunity presented by ongoing coal 
operations tend to be supportive of continued or expanded coal operations. 
Conversely, those who chose to reside in the area and to leave behind the hustle, 
bustle, noise and pollution of urban living and modern industrial society, raise 
questions or are less favorable to ongoing or expanded North Fork coal mine 
operations. 

3.15.2.10 Land Ownership and Values 

An estimated 56 percent of Delta County land is in public ownership with another 37 percent in 
agricultural use. Only 7 percent of all land is in non-agricultural private ownership. As of 1998, 
total assessed value in Delta County was $167.1 million. 

Only 4 percent of Delta County's tax assessed valuation consists of natural resource related 
properties. These include mine properties. 

3.15.3 Environmental Consequences 

The socioeconomic effects discussed in this section consider information presented in Section 
3.15.2, Existing Conditions. In addition, projections regarding mine production and operations 
were used for the impact analysis. Economic multipliers specific to the study area were derived 
from the IMPLAN economic model. 

IMPLAN is an economic model providing information that identifies the relationships between 
multiple economic sectors at the county level. The model was developed for the Forest Service 
and draws on a national database from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and provides 
data for 528 economic sectors. The state of Colorado also has an economic impact model. 
This model only provides information for 38 aggregated industries by region. This Colorado 
model places Delta County in one region and Gunnison in the other region. This division and 
the greater level of economic sector detail are reasons that the IMPLAN model was used for 
assessing economic impacts in this EIS; however, data from the Colorado State Department of 
Local Affairs were incorporated into the analysis. 

Direct and indirect socioeconomic impacts are evaluated for the two-county secondary study 
area. Fiscal effects are evaluated primarily in terms of direct consequences, as indirect effects 
are less readily quantified. Cumulative impacts are discussed primarily in the context of the 
larger seven-county tertiary study area. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 



Chapter 3 



Page 3-207 



3.15.3.1 



Mine Development Assumptions 



The principle difference between alternatives relates to the amount of coal reserves associated 
with each alternative. This affects the anticipated life of the existing mines. Table 3. 15-1, Total 
Projected Mine Life, illustrates the estimated mine life for the alternatives. 



Table 3.15.1 
Total Projected Mine Life 


Alternatives 


Mine Life (years) 


Bowie No. 2 1 ' 2 


Oxbow 1 


A 3 


1.5 


5 


B 4 


6.5 


10 


C 5 


9.5 


11 


D 6 


9 


11 


Notes: 

1 . For purposes of this table, it is assumed that coal reserves in the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 
would be mined using the Bowie No. 2 Facility, and coal reserves in the Elk Creek Coal Lease 
Tract would be mined using the Oxbow facilities. 

2. The estimates for the Bowie No. 2 column do not reflect the mine life for B seam reserves 
beneath the present Bowie No. 2 D seam mining or for the Bowie No. 1 "pod" of coal reserves, 
located to the west of Terror creek. Under Alternatives B, C, and D, it is assumed that the 
Bowie no. 1 "pod" reserves could be accessed through entries in the Iron Point Coal Lease 
Tract. Mining the Bowie No. 1 "pod" could add approximately 2 years to the life of the Bowie 
No. 2 operation. 

3. Leases would not be issued for the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. Mine life 
illustrates remaining Bowie No. 2 and Oxbow reserves. 

4. Assumes approximately 5 years of mine life for each lease tract, added to the projected mine 
lives of Alternative A. 

5. Assumes multi-seam mining and expanded lease tracts. Estimated 8 years from Iron Point 
Coal Lease Tract and 6 years from Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, both added to projected mine 
lives of Alternative A. 

6. Similar to Alternative C, except with subsidence restrictions. Assumes loss of about 0.5 year of 
mining from Iron Point Coal Lease Tract due to subsidence restrictions. Coal reserves in the 
Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract could be somewhat less under Alternative D as compared to 
Alternative C, but not enough to affect projected mine life. 



Under Alternative A (No-Action Alternative), leases would not be issued for the Iron Point and 
Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. Under this scenario, the Bowie No. 2 Mine has approximately 1 .5 
years of reserves, and the Oxbow operation has approximately 5 years of reserves. 

Under Alternative B, an additional 5 years of reserves would be available for both the Iron Point 
and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts at production rates discussed in Chapter 2, Alternatives 
Including the Proposed Action. With Alternatives C and D, approximately 8 years of additional 
reserves would be available for the Iron Point Coal Lease Tract and approximately 6 years for 
the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract. Coal reserves available in Alternative D would be somewhat 
less than Alternative C because of the subsidence restrictions. However, this would not 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-208 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

materially affect the projected mine life. For all of the action alternatives, access could be 
provided under Terror Creek to the reserves in the Bowie No. 1 pod. It is estimated that there 
are 2 years of reserves in the Bowie No. 1 pod. 

Each mine anticipates additional capital expenditures for coal extraction with any of the Action 
Alternatives B, C, and D. The identified capital expenditures for both mines total an estimated 
$31 million. 

For the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, it is anticipated that 30 to 40 construction workers would 
be needed to develop the Elk Creek portal and related facilities on Oxbow private surface. 
Construction should be completed in less than a year; therefore, any socioeconomic effects 
would be short-lived. For this construction work, there should be no need to attract new 
workers into the two-county study area. 

Combined annual purchases for both mines are estimated at $49 million. It is anticipated that 
20 percent of operating purchases annually would be made within the local study area. 

With Alternatives B, C, and D, operations employment at each mine is not anticipated to 
increase significantly above current conditions. This means the 168 mine workers at Bowie No 
2 (up from 157 people for room and pillar mining) and the 215 mine workers (mine workers and 
contract operators) at the Oxbow operations. These work forces would be assigned to the Iron 
Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts respectively. With no anticipation of significant 
additional mine workers for these new lease tracts, population, housing and school enrollments 
should be unaffected compared to existing conditions. 

Data from the IMPLAN model was used which identified an average annual wage for mineral 
extraction construction workers at $24,600. Estimated average annual wage during the period 
of mine operations is $59,500 per employee. 

3.15.3.2 Socioeconomic Effects of Alternative A (No-Action) 

Socioeconomic effects of the No-Action Alternative (Alternative A) would occur due to a 
reduction in coal mine activities within the local study area. Under a No-Action Alternative, 
mining of reserves at existing mines would continue at current extraction rates until reserves 
are depleted. 

To be conservative, impacts associated with a No-Action alternative are expressed as 
maximum potential effects on an annual basis after cessation of existing operations at the 
Bowie and Oxbow sites. 

Employment and Income - Combined effects of discontinuing operations at the existing Bowie 
No. 2 and Oxbow Mines would represent loss of 383 jobs. Averaging $59,500 in annual salary, 
total lost payroll would approximate $22.8 million annually. 

For every mine worker in the local study area, an estimated 1 .7 workers are supported by 
mining operations and mine worker household purchases. If both mines were to close, then an 
estimated 650 locally supported non-mine jobs in Delta and Gunnison Counties could 
potentially be negatively affected due to the drop in mining activity. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-209 

For every $1 .00 earned by mine workers, another $0.52 in income is supported in the local 
study area. Closure of both mines could lead to a reduction of $1 1 .9 million in non-mine related 
income throughout the affected study area. 

Total direct and indirect mine closure effects could represent a loss of up to 1 ,033 jobs and over 
$34.6 million in annual payroll. 

On a cumulative basis, if affected workers left the two-county study area, a substantial number 
likely would choose to remain within the broader seven-county central western slope area, as 
considerable inter-county migration occurs within the broader study area. According to IRS 
migration data for 1996-1997, almost 30 percent of residents leaving Delta County moved to 
other central western slope counties. Approximately 80 percent moved to neighboring Mesa 
and Montrose Counties. 

Housing, Population and School Enrollment - If both mines ceased operations, more than 
800 residents (145 of school age) would be directly affected. Whether these children would 
remain enrolled in local schools would depend on whether parents choose to relocate 
elsewhere to find employment or remain in the local study area. 

Combined, these two mine closures could affect nearly 2,380 residents living in the local study 
area, over 410 of them school-aged children. 

If a significant portion of residents choose to migrate outside the area, the local housing market 
could experience at least a temporary downturn (e.g. decline in property values) because a 
large number of homes might come onto the market simultaneously, potentially driving down 
prices. Local schools also would be affected, as a substantial portion of students could 
eventually relocate outside of the district. 

On a cumulative basis, with the No-Action Alternative, a significant portion of residents could be 
expected to relocate to other communities within the central western slope region. The number 
of low-income families living in the greater central western slope area could also increase. 

Other Community and Public Services - Over a short-term period of job loss (with mine 
cessation), needs for some community and public services can be expected to increase. 
Examples are law enforcement and social services. 

The economic multiplier relationship of direct to indirect employment could create further 
service demands from dislocation of workers currently supported by mining activity. A second 
type of indirect effect would result from reduced local tax revenues as local incomes declined 
and/or property values decline, whether temporarily or longer term. 

Community and public service providers would be affected by this combination of direct and 
indirect effects. If not offset by alternative sources of revenue, the level of service available from 
existing providers would decline. 

On a cumulative basis, if alternative employment were not available to displaced mine workers, 
some households could be expected to relocate to other communities in the central western 
slope area. This could increase demands for community and public service providers in the 
communities affected. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-210 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

Recreation, Social Values, Land Ownership and Values - Differing effects may be 
experienced, based on such factors as the perspective of a particular individual or social group, 
geographic area considered, and time elapsed from implementation of a No-Action Alternative. 

Effects that might be expected are varied, potentially including: 

► Reduced recreation from those displaced directly or indirectly by mining cessation, 
perhaps offset in part by those using recreation lands for hunting or fishing activity. 

► Diminution in income levels and quality of life for those displaced directly or indirectly 
from mine closure. 

► Potential enhancements in quality of life for some residents whose economic 
livelihood is not related in any substantial way to mining activity; a specific example 
would be reduced train activity and associated noise and crossing blockages. 

► For at least the short-term, property values might decline if a substantial proportion 
of displaced workers decided to place their homes on the market and relocate from 
the area. 

Over time, on a cumulative basis, cessation of mining would continue the trend toward in- 
migration of persons less dependent on traditional natural resource activities throughout 
Colorado's central western slope region. 

Fiscal Effects - The state of Colorado and local jurisdictions in Delta and Gunnison counties 
currently receive an estimated $1 1 .4 million in combined annual tax revenue related to 
operations of the Bowie No. 2 and Oxbow mines and mine-related employees. Of this amount, 
52 percent accrues to state government and 48 percent to local governments in the secondary 
study area. 

With cessation of mine operations, payment of tax revenues attributable directly to mine 
operations ($9.7 million annually) would cease. A portion of the remaining $1 .7 million in taxes 
attributable to mine workers might continue to be received, depending on factors such as 
ongoing employment for reclamation, unemployment payments while workers are displaced, 
eventual ability to obtain re-employment, and need for relocation. 

As stated in Section 3.15.2.7, Fiscal Conditions, local governments receive a share of the 
above revenues. Reduction in these revenues would place a burden on local government to 
provide services at levels that presently exist. With a decrease in revenues, these agencies 
may need to eliminate services, lower their level of service, or find alternate funding sources. In 
addition, local government would lose a portion of the following estimated annual revenues: 
$5.7 million in federal royalties, $2.1 million in state severance tax, and $1 .8 million in state 
sales tax. 

3.15.3.3 Socioeconomic Effects Common to All Action Alternatives 

Because no significant changes in mine employment are anticipated, socioeconomic effects are 
discussed in terms of continuing operations at the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. 
This means the socioeconomic effects discussed in this section should be viewed as a 
continuation of existing effects and not as new impacts to the local study area. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-211 

Employment and Income • The Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract anticipates the need for 35 
construction workers for approximately a year of development of the Elk Creek portal and 
related facilities on Oxbow private surface. These workers are anticipated to earn $24,600, 
producing $861 ,000 in estimated payroll annually. 

Total operations employment associated with the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts 
combined would be estimated at 383 jobs with ongoing payroll of $22.8 million annually while 
both tracts are operational. 

During periods when both mines are operating at the same time, these facilities are estimated 
to support over 1 ,000 direct and indirect jobs in the local economy and over $34.6 million in 
annual local income. 

Combined, these facilities would support over 210 workers and income of nearly $7.1 million 
annually during reclamation. After reclamation has been completed, ongoing monitoring would 
occur at both of these facilities. 

Housing, Population and School Enrollment - As with the employment and income effects, 
the housing, population, and school enrollment effects are presented as a continuation of 
existing effects and not as new impacts to the local study area. 

Taken together, mining activities from the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts would 
represent an estimated 350 households with 833 residents and 145 school age children during 
mine operations. This would decrease to 78 households with 185 residents (32 school age 
children) during the subsequent period of site reclamation. 

During peak operations, the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal lease Tracts would support an 
estimated 1 ,000 households translating into 2,380 residents with over 410 school age children. 
With reclamation, the number of households supported directly and indirectly by these mines 
would drop to just over 210 and 500+ residents with less than 90 school age children. 

Other Community and Public Services - At maximum operations, annually recurring effects 
are expected to be similar for each of Action Alternatives B, C, and D. The primary difference is 
associated with anticipated duration of mine operations, with Alternatives C and D occurring 
over a longer time period than Alternative B. 

During the period of mine operations, effects on community and public service providers 
generally could be expected to involve little to no change from current conditions. This is 
because mine operation employment associated with mining from the Iron Point and Elk Creek 
Coal Lease Tracts would essentially be the same as at the existing Bowie and Oxbow 
operations. Upon eventual cessation of mine operations, effects would be comparable to those 
identified with Alternative A. 

On a cumulative basis, little or no change from current conditions would be attributed to 
lengthened duration of operations with Action Alternatives B, C, and D 

Recreation, Social Values, Land Ownership and Values - With Alternatives B, C, and D, 
effects would include: 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 3-212 Environmental Analysis September 1999 

► Continued recreation opportunity for existing residents and visitors, but with some 
potential reduced opportunity for recreation on federal lands in the vicinity of the Iron 
Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts. 

► Maintenance of incomes, quality of life and social values of existing mine workers 
and other workers or businesses that benefit indirectly from mine-related activity. 

► Potential diminution of quality of life and social values for some residents whose 
economic livelihood is not related in any substantial way to mining activity; a 
commonly cited example is increase train activity and associated noise and crossing 
blockage. 

- No change in property values or ownerships is expected due to mine operations over 
the period of their continuation. 

On a cumulative basis, Alternatives B, C, and D would allow continued mining for a period of 
approximately 5-8 years beyond what is expected with Alternative A. It is conceivable that the 
life of affected North Fork mines could be extended further if operators successfully secure 
previously unmined seams on private lands or added federal leases. 

Continued mining would offer the opportunity to maintain the social values of primary and 
secondary study area households that depend on or relate to natural resource-related 
industries. 

Fiscal Conditions- During production from the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts, 
state of Colorado and local jurisdictions in Delta and Gunnison Counties would receive 
approximately $13.5 million annually in tax revenue. Of this amount, 52 percent accrues to 
state government and 48 percent accrues to local government in the secondary study area. In 
addition, mining on the two lease tracts would generate an estimated annual income of $5.7 
million in federal royalties, $2.4 million in state severance tax, and $1 .8 million in state sales 
tax. Taxes could fluctuate year-to-year as the mines acquire new equipment, make capital 
improvements, and as the values of such equipment and improvements depreciate. Taxes and 
royalties would also be influenced by factors such as the price of coal, coal markets, and mine 
employment. 

Tax revenues and royalties would continue for the life of the mining. Upon project closure and 
reclamation, tax and royalty revenues would cease. Impacts would be similar to those 
described for Alternative A at that time. 

3.1 5.3.4 Differences Amongst Action Alternatives 

Total multi-year revenues to state and local governments are estimated at close to $70 million 
with Alternative B and $94 million with Alternatives C, and D. Multi-year revenues are 35 
percent greater with Alternatives C and D than with Alternative B due to the longer duration of 
mining activity. The local government share of total revenues received is estimated at 51 
percent with Alternative B and 53 percent with Alternatives C and D. 

3.15.4 Possible Mitigation and Management 

Coal mining operators would, to the extent practicable, employ local contractors and workers, 
use the local job service centers, and only go outside the local area to hire if an adequate pool 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-213 

of qualified candidates can not be generated from the local area. Coal mining operators also 
implement a variety of miner safety and educational training. These actions can be quite 
effective in promoting local employment and worker safety. 

Government officials, the mining companies, concerned citizens, and interested organizations 
should continue their efforts to work together for the benefit of the local community as a whole. 

3.1 6 IRREVERSIBLE AND IRRETRIEVABLE COMMITMENT OF RESOURCES 

Irreversible resource commitments are those that can not be reversed (loss of future options), 
except perhaps in the extreme long-term. It relates primarily to non-renewable resources, such 
as coal or cultural resources, or those resources that are renewable only over long periods of 
time, such as mature vegetation or forests. The mining operation removes coal from the 
ground; this action results in an irreversible loss of the mineral resource. 

Irretrievable resource commitments are those that are lost for a period of time. Examples are: 
the loss of production, harvest, or use of natural resources such as wildlife habitat or grazing 
use, until disturbed sites are reclaimed and revegetation success is achieved. For example: if a 
grazing allotment is in poor condition and is likely to remain so, the time gap between its current 
condition and its ideal (potential) productivity is an ongoing irretrievable loss. Because of the 
planned underground mining for the two coal lease tracts, disturbance would be a minimal; less 
than 1 percent of the lease areas would be affected by drill hole pads, borehole locations and 
ventilation shafts. During these uses, some existing grazing and wildlife habitat might be 
disrupted during the estimated life of the mine and for a period thereafter. With reclamation of 
these disturbed sites, land uses would essentially return to current uses and levels of use or 
even be enhanced, but this could take a period of time for some resources such as mature 
aspen stands. 

3.16.1 Irreversible Resource Commitment 

The irreversible commitment of resources would include the consumption of non-renewable 
energy or materials, such as diesel fuel and gasoline, effects to topography, coal resources, 
and cultural resources. 

The topography above the underground mining would be permanently altered by subsidence. 
The topographic changes created by subsidence would be mostly unnoticeable to the naked 
eye, as longwall subsidence tends to be uniform in nature (see Appendix K, Subsidence 
Evaluation). The result of subsidence is that the post-mining topography would be slightly lower 
than the original topography. 

Fossil fuels used during the operation and transportation aspects of the coal mining on the two 
coal lease tracts would result in irreversible commitments. 

The mining of the coal from the two lease tracts would be an irreversible use of the coal 
resource. On the other hand, however, the extraction and use of the coal would make this 
resource available for society. 

Any soil or subsoil material not salvaged prior to disturbance could result in an irreversible 
commitment. 



Page 3-214 Environmental Analysis September 199 9 

Any disturbance of cultural sites could result in an irreversible commitment. However, research 
values could be recovered prior to any physical loss. 

3.16.2 Irretrievable Resource Commitment 

Any vegetation removed in the areas of the proposed facilities would result in an irretrievable 
resource commitment. Similarly, such activity could displace wildlife within the direct area of 
disturbance (e.g., loss of habitat) and some wildlife within a larger area. Reclamation plans and 
mitigation measures would eventually return vegetation and restore wildlife habitat. 

There would be a consumption of water resources during the duration of mining and changes 
caused by mining. Eventually the hydrology of the area would return to the similar condition 
that existed prior to mining. 

Care in underground mine planning should be taken in order to avoid an irretrievable loss of 
possible future coal resources located adjacent to the proposed coal leases. 

3.16.3 Unavoidable Adverse Effects 

There are unavoidable impacts which could occur as a result of mining the coal on the two coal 
lease tracts. Some of these effects would be short-term, while others could be long-term. 

These unavoidable effects could include: 

► The generation of fugitive dust (short-term); 

► The loss of vegetation and wildlife habitat (short and long-term); 

► The consumption of water resources (short-term); 

*■ The permanent alteration of topography by subsidence (long-term); 

► The increased demand on public services and utilities (short-term); 

► Loss of wetlands, springs and seeps, and changed functions and values of wetlands 
(short and long-term); 

► Increases in noise levels which could affect human aesthetics (short-term); and 

► Increased railroad and road traffic (short-term). 

3.16.4 Short-Term Use Versus Long-Term Productivity 

Short-term uses are those that generally occur on a year-to-year basis. Examples are wildlife 
and livestock use of forage, recreation, and use of the water resource. Long-term productivity 
is the capability of the land to provide resources, both market and non-market, for future 
generations. 

Relationships between short-term uses of the environment and long-term productivity occur in 
all alternatives. Short-term uses such as mining may be said to represent irretrievable 
commitments of resources. As an example, the removal of vegetation from facility sites 
certainly prevents the vegetation from serving as forage for wildlife and livestock for a certain 
period of time. However, after a period of time, which would be based on the reclamation plan, 
vegetation would again re-establish and serve the desired purpose. This would occur because 
the basic long-term vegetative productivity would not be destroyed by the short-term use of 
mining; therefore, no irreversible damage would occur. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 3 Page 3-215 

Coal mining operations on the two lease tracts would be short-term with mining and reclamation 
expected to last from a few years up to 1 years. The short-term use of the two federal coal 
lease tracts would be to recover as much coal as is economically feasible. 

Long-term productivity refers to the basic capability of the land to produce according to desired 
future levels (e.g., vegetation, wildlife habitat, water quality, etc.). Long-term productivity would 
depend on the reclamation measures applied, the ability to retain soil productivity, and the 
desired long-term management objectives. 

All of the alternatives discussed in this EIS result in short-term uses which irretrievably commit 
certain resources. Proper reclamation and environmental mitigation should restore any 
disturbed sites to long-term productivity. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Chapter 4 



Consultation and Coordination 



September 1999 Chapter 4 Page4-1 

4.0 CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 



Throughout the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping process, the BLM and the 
Forest Service contacted various federal, state, and local agencies for comments and concerns. 
These agencies include the following: 

► U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; 

► Environmental Protection Agency; 

► U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 

*■ Western Area Power Administration; 

► Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology; 

► Colorado Department of Wildlife; 

► Colorado Division of Air Pollution Control; 
- Colorado Water Quality Control Division; 

► Colorado Division of Wildlife; 
*• Delta County; and, 

► Gunnison County. 

All of these agencies were invited to attend the public scoping meeting held in Hotchkiss, 
Colorado on April 21, 1999. Representatives of the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology 
(DMG), Delta County, and Gunnison County were in attendance at this April 21 , 1999 public 
scoping meeting. 

A special meeting was held for those agencies interested in the North Fork Coal EIS on 
Thursday, April, 22, 1999. Representatives of the Colorado DMG, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 
Delta County, and Gunnison County attended this "interested agency" meeting. A tour of both 
the Bowie and Oxbow facilities was conducted on this same day for interested agency 
personnel. 

On Wednesday, April 28, 1999, BLM met with representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Grand Junction, Colorado, to discuss the 
North Fork Coal EIS. 

The BLM also met with representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency in Denver, 
Colorado on Tuesday, May 18, 1999. 

The Draft and Final EIS will be distributed to a number of government agencies. The tentative 
list of agencies to receive the Draft and Final EIS are listed below. The number of copies 
needed is also listed. 

Copies of EIS 
ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HISTORIC PRESERVATION 

Office of Architectural and Environmental Preservation 

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation 

1 100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 809 

Washington, DC 20004 202-786-0505 1 (final) 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 4-2 



Consultation and Coordination 



September 1999 



AGRICULTURE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF 

Office of Equal Opportunity 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 1345 

Washington, DC 20250 202-447-5681 

Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service 

PPQ (APHIS) 

Program Planning Staff 

U.S. Department of Agriculture 

Federal Building, Room 643 

Hyattsville, MD 20782 301-436-8247 

Rural Electrification Administration 
Assistant Administrator for Management 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 4063 
Washington, DC 20250 202-382-9552 

Soil Conservation Service 

Environmental Coordinator of Ecological Sciences Division 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 6155 

P.O. Box 2890 

Washington, DC 20013 



1 (final) 



202-447-4912 



USDA Coordinator 
National Agricultural Library, USDA 
10301 Baltimore Boulevard 
USA Publications, Room 002 
Beltsville, MD 20705 

U.S. Department of Agriculture 

Room102-W 

Washington, DC 20250 

USDA OPA Publications Stockroom 
Room A-325 (Attic) 
South Building 
Washington, DC 20250 



301-344-3755 



202-447-5681 



3 (draft) 
2(final) 



1 (final) 



Forest Supervisor 

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests 

2250 Highway 50 

Delta, CO 81416 970-874-6649 



Paonia Ranger District 
P.O. Box 1030 
Paonia, CO 81428 



970-527-4131 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 4 p age 4.3 

USDA Forest Service 

Attention: Environmental Coordination 

Rocky Mountain Region 

740 Simms 

P.O. Box 251 27 

Lakewood, CO 80225 303-236-9341 5 

COMMERCE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association 

Ecology and Conservation Division 

Room 5808 Herbert Hoover Building 

Washington, DC 2230 202-377-8565 1 

DEFENSE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF 

Chairman, Department of Defense 

Explosive Safety Board 

2461 Eisenhower Avenue 

Alexandria, VA 22331 703-352-0969/703-352-0891 1 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Environment) 

Room 3D833, Pentagon 

Washington, DC 20301-0800 202-695-7820 2 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force 

(Environment, Safety & Occupational Health) 

SAF/RQ 

Washington, DC 20330-1000 202-697-0800 1 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 

Regulatory Branch 

402 Rood Avenue, Room 142 

Grand Junction, CO 81501 970-243-1199 1 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 

Planning Division 

South Pacific Division 

630 Sansome Street, Room 1216 

San Francisco, CA 941 1 1 2 

U.S. Army Engineering and Housing Support Center 

Attention: CEHSC-E 

20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW 

Washington, DC 20314-1000 202-272-0591 2 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 

Environmental Protection Agency 

EIS Review Coordinator 

Region VIII 

999 1 8 th Street, Suite 500 

Denver, CO 80202-2466 303-312-6002 5 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 4-4 Consultation and Coordination September 1999 

EPA - Office of Federal Activities 

Mail Code 2252A 

401 "M" Street, SW 

Washington, DC 20460 202-260-5076 5 

ENERGY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF 

Office of NEPA Project Assistance 

EH-25/MSGB096A 

U.S. Department of Energy 

Washington, DC 20585 ~ 202-586-4600 3 

FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION 

Western Resource Center 

Federal Highway Administration 

201 Mission Street, Suite 2100 

San Francisco, CA 94105 415-744-3102 1 

GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 

Environmental Staff 

General Services Administration 

18 th and F Street, NW, Room 6323 (Code PLPP) 

Washington, DC 20405 202-708-5082 2 

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, U.S. 

Library of Congress 

Madison Building 

Exchange of Gifts Division 

Federal Documents Section 

"C" Street, Between 1 st and 2 nd , SE 

Washington, DC 20540 15 

Depository 

Receiving Section 

U.S. Government Printing Office 

Jackson Alley, Room A-150 

Washington, DC 20401 202-512-0000 1 

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF 

Office of Special Programs Coordination 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

Office of the Secretary 

303 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 4700 

Washington, DC 20201 202-245-7426 1 

INTERIOR, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE 

Bureau of Land Management 

Colorado State Office 

2850 Youngfield Street 

Lakewood, CO 80215 5 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environ me - :al Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 4 Page 4-5 

Bureau of Land Management 

Uncompahgre Field Office 

2465 S. Townsend Avenue 

Montrose, CO 81401 5 

Bureau of Land Management 

NARSC-Library 

P.O. Box 20457 

Building 50, Denver Federal Center 

Denver, CO 80225 1 

Bureau of Land Management 

1 849 C Street NW 

Washington, DC 20240 - 1 

Director, Office of Environmental Project Compliance 

U.S. Department of the Interior 

Main Interior Building 

MS 2340 

1849 C Street, NW 5 

Washington, DC 20240 202-343-2116 

Natural Resource Library 

Main Interior Building, Room 1041 

1 849 C Street NW 

Washington, DC 20240 3 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

764 Horizon Drive, South Annex A 

Grand Junction, CO 81506 970-243-2778 1 

OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING 

Western Regional Office 

1 999 Broadway, Suite 341 

Denver, CO 80202 303-844-1400 5 

INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION 

Chief, Section of Energy and Environment 

Interstate Commerce Commission 

Room 31 15 

Washington, DC 20423 202-275-7316 1 

TRANSPORTATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF 

Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs 

U.S. Department of Transportation 

Environmental Division (P-14), Room 9217 

400 7 th Street, SW 

Washington, DC 20590 202-366-4366 2 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 4-6 Consultation and Coordination Septem ber 1999 

COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES 

Division of Minerals and Geology 
1313 Sherman Street, Room 215 
Denver, CO 80203 303-866-3567 2 

Colorado Division of Wildlife 

P.O. Box 426 

Paonia, CO 81428 970-527-4419 1 

COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT 

Air Pollution Control Division 

4300 Cherry Creek Drive South 

Denver, CO 80246 303-692-3168 1 

Water Quality Control Division 

4300 Cherry Creek Drive South 

Denver, CO 80246 303-692-2000 1 

COLORADO STATE ENGINEER 

1313 Sherman Street, Room 818 

Denver, CO 80203 303-866-3581 1 

COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION 

Environmental Review 

4201 E. Arkansas Avenue 

Denver, CO 80222 303-757-9259 1 

Access & Utility Coordination 

606-S. 9 th Street 

Grand Junction, CO 81501 970-248-7234 1 

DELTA COUNTY 

Planning Department 

501 Palmer 

Delta, CO 81416 970-874-2106 2 

GUNNISON COUNTY 

Planning Department 

200 E. Virginia 

Gunnison, CO 81230 970-641-0360 2 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 











Chapter 5 | 






List of Preparers 1 









September 1999 Chapter 5 p age 5-1 

5.0 LIST OF PREPARERS 

5.1 INTRODUCTION 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service) are the 
joint lead agencies for the North Fork Coal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and are 
responsible for the contents of this EIS document. The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) is a 
cooperating agency on this EIS project. S. Edwards Inc. served as the third-party EIS 
contractor under the direction of the lead agencies and utilized numerous subcontractors in the 
assemblage of the EIS. A number of individuals have contributed to this document. The 
academic background and experience of these individuals are presented in this chapter. 

5.2 BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

Jerry Jones - Environmental Coordinator: BS in Geology, Southern Colorado State 
University. 27 years professional experience. EIS Project Manager. 

Dennis Murphy - Hydrology and Soils: BS in Forestry-Watershed Science, Utah State 
University. 21 years professional experience, hydrology and soils. 

Lynn Lewis - Geology: BS in Geology, 1 976, University of Wyoming. 22 years experience. 

Desty Dyer - Mining Engineer: BS in Mining Engineering, Colorado School of Mines. 23 
years of experience in private and government service. 

Jeanette Pranzo - Socioeconomics: MA in Economics, University of Pittsburgh. BA Hunter 
College. 28 years experience. 

5.3 U.S. FOREST SERVICE 

Jeff Burch - NEPA Compliance: MS and BS in Forestry, Colorado State University. Post 
Graduate course work in Environmental Planning. 23 years professional experience. NEPA 
Process Advisor. 

Andrea Wang - Wildlife Biologist: BA in Biology, Western State College. 15 years 
experience. 

Sally Crum - Cultural Resources: BA in Anthropology. 20 years professional experience. 
Archaeology. 

Liane Mattson - Geology, Hydrology, Subsidence: BS Geological Engineering, Colorado 
School of Mines. 1 1 years of experience in private and government service. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 5-2 List of Preparers September 1999 

5.4 OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING 

Floyd "Mac" McMuilen - EIS Coordinator: MS in Environmental Science, 1988, University of 
Colorado at Denver. BS in Range-Forest management, 1974, Colorado State University. 10 
years with BLM, 15 years with OSM. 

Larry Kline - Federal Lands State Coordinator: 

5.5 S. EDWARDS INC. 

Sally Edwards - Principal in Charge: MS in Resource Management, 1991, Colorado State 
University, and BS in Forestry 1976, Colorado State University. Experience in project 
management of environmental analyses. Experience in forestry in western and southern United 
States. 13 years with Forest Service, five of which served as District Ranger. President of S. 
Edwards Inc. 

Alan Czarnowsky - Project Manager: BS in Mining Engineering, 1974, Colorado School of 
Mines. Experience in mining operations and environmental aspects of mining activities in 
western North America. 

Rita Edinger - Document Coordination/Wordprocessing: U.S. Army Training Center, Fort 
Jackson, South Carolina, 1974. Clerical, management, and administrative experience. 

5.6 S. EDWARDS INC. PRIMARY CONSULTANTS 

Vladimir Straskraba - Hydrogeology: MS in Geological Engineering, and BS in Mining 
Engineering, 1958, School of Mines, Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. Principal hydrogeologist for 
TRC Hydro-Geo Consultants. 41 years experience in mining hydraulic evaluations and water 
resource development projects throughout the world. 

Joe Frank - Hydrogeology: MS in Hydrogeology/Geology, 1987, and BS in Geology, 1978, 
University of Colorado. Senior hydrogeologist/geologist with TRC Hydro-Geo Consultants. 19 
years experience in hydrogeoiogical studies for mining projects in the western United States. 
Experience includes well installation and logging, aquifer testing and analysis, water quality 
sampling, and groundwater and surface water computer modeling. 

Joe Nagengast - Drafting and Graphics: Billings VO-TECH College AA Drafting Technology, 
1978. Design technology studies at Northern Montana College. Geologic studies at Eastern 
Washington University. Studies in AutoCAD I, II, III and AutoCAD Management at CAD 
Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Experience in geologic, mining, permitting, and environmental 
graphics exploration and design. 

Janet Shangraw - Surface Water Hydrology/Water Rights: BS in Watershed 
Science/Hydrology, 1978, Colorado State University. Principal hydrologist at JNS, Inc. 
Professional Hydrologist, certified by the American Institute of Hydrology. 20 years experience 
in hydrologic evaluations and water resource development. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 5 



Page 5-3 



Steve Long - Soils/Vegetation/Wetlands: MS in Regional Resource Planning/Soil Science- 
Reclamation, 1977, Colorado State University. BS in Wildlife Biology, 1972, Colorado State 
University. Principal of Cedar Creek Associates, serving as the soils and wetland specialist. 23 
years of experience in environmental management and remediation design. 

Mike Phelan - Wildlife Biologist: BA in Zoology, 1972, University of California, with post- 
graduate studies in biology and ecology from San Diego State University. Principal of Cedar 
Creek Associates, serving as the wildlife specialist. 25 years experience in mining operations 
and environmental aspects of mining activities in western North America. 

Rollin Daggett - Fisheries: MS Aquatic Biology, 1973, Memorial University of Newfoundland. 
BS in Zoology, 1971, Syracuse University. Associate of Cedar Creek Associates, serving as 
the fisheries specialist. 23 years experience with aquatic resource studies, water quality 
analysis work, and environmental management. 

Eric Hovee - Socioeconomics: Real Estate Finance and Environmental Economics, 1977, 
Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. Economics and Urban Studies, 1973, University of 
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 20 years experience in public service work. Owner 
and principal of E.D. Hovee, a consulting firm providing economic and development services. 

James Wilder - Air Quality/Meteorology/Noise: MS in Environmental Engineering, 1981, 
University of Washington and BS in Civil Engineering, 1 975, University of California at Davis. 
Air quality/noise engineer at Kennedy/Jenks Consultants. 20 years of experience with air 
quality and noise assessments. 

Jim Brechtel - Archaeology: MA in Anthropology/Archaeology, 1980, University of Northern 
Colorado and BA in Anthropology, 1976, Colorado State University. 20 years as consulting 
archaeologist working on hundreds of archaeological compliance projects in the western United 
States. 

Richard Dunrud, PE - Subsidence: MS in Geology with extra courses in nuclear engineering, 
mathematics and physics, 1962, University of Wyoming and BS in Geological Engineering, 
major in Mathematics, minor in Physics, 1961, University of Wyoming. 37 years experience in 
engineering/geological evaluations affecting underground coal mining in western United States. 
Scientist Emeritus with U.S. Geological Survey. A Colorado Registered Professional Engineer 
with a total of 42 published scientific and technical papers. 



Wort/7 Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 6 Page 6-1 

6.0 REFERENCES 



Ackerman, D.J. and Tom Brooks. 1985. Reconnaissance of Ground-Water Resources in the 
North Fork Gunnison River Basin, Southwestern Colorado. USGS Water Resource 
Investigations Report 85-4230. 

Air Sciences, Inc. 1999. Dispersion Modeling Analysis for Sanborn Mine. January 1998. 

Anderson, A.E. 1983. A critical review of literature on puma {Felix concolor). Special Report 
Number 54, Colorado Division of Wildlife. 91 pp. 

Andrews, R. and R. Righter. 1 992. Colorado birds. Denver Museum of Natural history, 
Denver, Colorado. 442 pp. 

Bailey, A.M. and R.J. Niedrach. 1965. Birds of Colorado. Denver Museum of Natural History. 
2 Vol., 895 pp. 

Barbour, R.W. and W.H. Davis. 1969. Bats of America. University of Kentucky Press, 
Lexington. 286 p. 

BLM. Guidelines for Assessing and Documenting Cumulative impacts (April 1994). 

Bowie Resources Ltd. 1998. Permit Application Sections: Subsidence Prediction Report, 

Protection of Hydrologic Balance, General Description of Hydrology and geology, and 
revised sections. 

Bowie Resources Ltd. 1996. Hydrology Monitoring Data, Water Quality Results and Well 
Completion Diagrams. 

Bowie Resources Limited. Paonia, Colorado. 24 pp. + appendices, photos, and map. 

Brooks, Tom. 1986. Geohydrology and Potential Hydrologic Effects of Underground Coal 
Mining in the Rapid Creek Basin, Mesa County Colorado. USGS Water Resource 
Investigations Report 86-4172. 

Brooks, Tom. 1983. Hydrology and Subsidence Potential of Proposed Coal Lease Tracts in 
Delta county, CO. USGS Water Resource Investigations Report 83-4069. 

Bull, E.L., S.R. Peterson, and J.W. Thomas. 1986. Resource partitioning among woodpeckers 
in north-eastern Oregon. Res. Note PNW-444. U.S. Dept. of Agricul., For. Serv., pacific 
Northwest Res. Sta., LeGrande, Oregon. 

Burdick, R.D. 1999. Fishery Biologist, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Grand Junction, Colorado, 
Personal Communication with Rollin Daggett, Hydrobios Consultants, May 3, 1999. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 6-2 References September 1999 

Burdick, R.D. and R.A. Bonar. 1997. Experimental Stocking of Adult Razorback Sucker in the 
Upper Colorado and Gunnison Rivers. Final Report Prepared for the Recovery 
Implementation Program for Endangered Fishes in the Upper Colorado River Basin, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado River Fishery Project, Grand Junction, 
Colorado, 28 pp. 

Burdick, R.D. 1995. Ichthyofaunal Studies of the Gunnison River, Colorado, 1992-1994. Final 
Report Prepared for the Recovery Implementation Program for Endangered Fishes in 
the Upper Colorado River Basin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado River Fishery 
Project, Grand Junction, Colorado, 60 pp. + appendices. 

Bury, R. 1 972. The Effects of Diesel Fuel on a Stream Fauna. California Fish and Game 
(58(4): 291-295. 

Calicut, W. Delta County Weed Coordinator. Hotchkiss, Colorado. Personal communication 
with S. Long. June 1999. 

CDPHE. 1999. Classifications and Numeric Standards for Gunnison and Lower Dolores River 
Basins. 

CEQ. Handbook, Considering Cumulative Effects (January 1997). 



Clary, Warren P. and Dean E. Medin. 1998. Riparian Zones: The Ultimate Ecotones? In Tenth 
Wildland Shrub Symposium, Shrubland Ecotones. 

Cleary and Hedin. 1998. 

Conner, Carl. 1995. Cultural Resource Inventory Report for the Bowie #2 Mine in Delta 
County. Colorado for Bowie Resources, ltd. Grand River Institute, Grand Junction. 
Report on file at Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology, and Office of Surface 
Mining, Denver. 

Council on Environmental Quality. Handbook, Considering Cumulative Effects (January 1997). 

Council on Environmental Quality. Handbook, Considering Cumulative Effects (January 1997). 

Colorado BLM State Director's Office. Bureau of Land management, Denver, Colorado. 
Personal communication by FAX with T.M. Phelan. March 1999. 

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Water Quality Control Commission. 
1999. Classifications and Numeric Standards for Gunnison and Lower Dolores River 
Basins. 

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 1998. The Basic Standards and 
Methodologies for Surface Water. Water Quality Control Commission, Denver, 
Colorado. 

Colorado Division of Wildlife. 1984. The bats of Colorado: shadows in the night. Colorado 
Division of Wildlife, Denver, Colorado. 22 pp. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 6 Page 6-3 

Colorado Division of Wildlife. 1978. Unpublished File Information, Montrose, Colorado. 

Colorado Water Conservation Board. 1984. Decrees for Hubbard Creek. Appropriation Date: 
May 4, 1984. 

Connor, Paul. Union Pacific Railroad. Personal communication with A. Czamowsky. May 
1999. 

Cryer, D. H. and T. J. Hughes. 1997. Soil Survey of Grand Mesa-West Elk Area, Colorado. 

Parts of Delta, Garfield, Gunnison, Mesa, and Montrose Counties (interim report, subject 
to change). U. S. D. A. Forest Service. Delta, Colorado. 544 pp. + maps. 

Dunrud, R. 1999. Personal communication. 

Dunrud, C.R. 1999. Subsidence Evaluation for Elk Creek and Iron Point Lease Tracts, Delta 
and Gunnison Counties, Colorado. Appendix K North Fork EIS. 

Easterla, D.A. 1973. Ecology of the Eighteen Species of Chiroptera at Big Bend National park, 
Texas. Northwest Missouri State University Studies 34(2-3):1-165. 

Eatough, D.J., Arthur R.J., Eatough N., Hill M. Cooper, J. 1984. Rapid Conversion of S02(g) 
to Sulfate in a Fog Bank. Environmental Science and Technology, Vol 18, No. 11, pp. 
855-859, 1984. 

Edgerton, S., R. Coutant, and M. Henley. 1987. Hydrocarbon Fuel Dispersion on Water: A 
Literature Review. Chemosphere 16: 1475-1487. 

Ehrlich, P.R., D.S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook, afield guide to the 
natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster Inc., New York. 785 pp. 

ENSR Consulting and Engineering. 1989. Refined product Pipeline Release Field Investigation 
Report, Salem, Oregon. Prepared for Santa Fe Pacific Pipeline Partnership, LP., Los 
Angeles, California. 

EPA. 1998. Workbook for Plume Visual impact Screening and Analysis. EPA-450/4-88-015. 
September 1 988. 

EPA. 1998. AP-42, Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors. Section 1.1, Bituminous 
and Sub-bituminous Coal. 

EPA. 1997. AP-42, Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors. Section 13.2.1, Paved 
Roads. 

EPA. 1997. Technical Highlights: Emission Factors for Locomotives. EPA420-F-97-051. 
December 1997. 

EPA. 1992. User's Manual for Plume Visibility Model (PLUVUE II) (Revised). EPA454/B-92- 
008. September 1992. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 6-4 References September 1999 

EPA. 1974. Levels of Noise Requisite to Protect Public Welfare With an Adequate margin of 
Safety. 

Federal Highway Administration. 1995. Noise Impact Assessment Methodology for Highway 
Projects. 

Federal Transit Administration. 1995. Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment. NTIS 
PB96-1 721 35, April 1995. 

Ferguson, J. Bureau of Land Management. Paonia, Colorado. Personal communication with 
S. Long. June 1999. 

Ferguson, J. Bureau of Land Management, Montrose, Colorado. Personal communication by 
FAX with S.G. Long. June 1999. 

Finch, D.M. 1992. Threatened, Endangered and vulnerable species of terrestrial vertebrates in 
the Rocky Mountain Region. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report (RM-215. 
Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, Colorado. 38 pp. 

Findley, J.S., A.H. Harris, D.E. Wilson, and C. Jones. 1975. Mammals of New Mexico. 
University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 360. 

Fitzgerald, J. P., C.A. Meaney, and D.M. Armstrong. 1994. Mammals of Colorado. Denver 
Museum of Natural History and University Press of Colorado. 467 pp. 

Fox, D.G., 1983. "A Suggested Methodology for an Acid Deposition Screening Technique 
Applicable within 200 km of Isolated Sources". Preliminary draft report, 1983. 

Fraser, J.D. and D.R. Luukkonen. 1986. The loggerhead shrike. Pp. 933-941 in Di Silvestro 
(ed.). 1986. Audubon Wildlife Report. The national Audubon Society, New York. 1094 
pp. 

GMUG. USDA Forest Service, Delta, Colorado. Personal communication by FAX with T.M. 
Phelan. March 23, 1999. 

Green, A. Gunnison County Weed Coordinator. Gunnison, Colorado. Personal 
communication with S. Long. June 1999. 

Green, J. and M. Trett (Eds.). 1989. The Fate and Effects of Oil in Freshwater. Elsevier 
Applied Science, London and New York, 338 pp. 

Green, N. 1985. The bald eagle, pp. 509-531 In: DiSilvestro, R.L (Ed.). 1985. The Audubon 
wildlife report. The National Audubon Society, New York. 671 pp. 

Hammerson, G.A. 1986. Amphibians and reptiles in Colorado. Colorado Division of Wildlife, 
Denver. 131 pp. 

Hayes Environmental Services, Inc. 1995. Bowie #2 Mine-1995 Baseline Vegetation Report. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 6 Page 6-5 

Hayward, G.D., T. Holland, and R. Escano. 1990. Goshawk habitat relationships. Pp. 1927 In: 
Warren, N.M. (Ed.). 1990. Old-growth habitats and associated wildlife species in the 
northern Rocky Mountains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region Wildlife Habitat 
Relationships Program, R1 -90-42. 47pp. 

Hebain, S. 1999. Fishery Biologist, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Montrose, Colorado, 

Personal Communication with Rollin Daggett, Hydrobios Consultants, May 13, 1999. 

Hunter, W. R. 1981. Soil Survey of Paonia Area, Colorado. Parts of Delta, Gunnison, and 
Montrose Counties. U. S. Government Printing Office. Washington, D. C. 1 84 pp. + maps. 

Husband, Michael B. 1984. Colorado Plateau Country Historic Context . Colorado Historical 
Society, Denver. 

Johnston, B. C. 1997. Ecological Types of the Upper Gunnison Basin (Review Draft). USDA 
Forest Service. Gunnison, Colorado. 

Johnson, L Colorado Natural Heritage Program. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 
Colorado. Personal communication with S.G. Long. June 3, 1999. 

Jones, J. Bureau of Land Management. Montrose, Colorado. Personal communication with S. 
Long. June 1999. 

Jones, M. 1999. Wildlife biologist, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Fort Collins, Colorado Phone 
conversation with M. Phelan, Cedar Creek Associates, Inc. January 14, 1999. 

Kaeding, L R., B. D. Burdick, P. A. Schrader, and W. R. Noonan. 1986. Recent Capture of a 
Bonytail {Gila elegans) and Observations on the Nearly Extinct Cyprinid from the 
Colorado River. Copeia 1986: 1021-1023. 

Karp, C.A. and H. M. Tyus. 1990. Humpback chub (Gila cypha) in the Yampa and Green 

Rivers, Dinosaur National Monument, with observations on roundtail chub (G. robusta) 
and other sympatric fishes. Great Basin Naturalist 50(3): 257-264. 

Kennedy, P.L and D.W. Stahlecker. 1991 . Broadcast of Calls of Northern Goshawk: Their 
Effectiveness and Their Use in Inventory and Long-Term Monitoring Programs, Draft. 
Prepared for USDA Forest Service, Southwest Region, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 199 
pp. + figures and exhibits. 

Kinglery, H.E. and M.B. Dillon (eds.). 1987. Colorado bird distribution latilong study. Colorado 
Division of Wildlife, Denver. 81 pp. + appendices. 

Koehler, G. 1987. The bobcat. Pp. 399-409 In: DiSilvestro, R.L., W.L Chandler, K. Barton, 
and L. Labate (eds.). 1987 Audubon wildlife report. The National Audubon Society, 
New York, Academic Press, New York. 697 pp. 

LaFevere, J. Technician. U. S. Forest Service. Delta, Colorado. Personal communication with 
S. Long. June 1999. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 6-6 References 



September 1999 



Leonard, M.L and M.B. Fenton. 1983. Habitat Use by Spotted Bats (Euderma maculatum, 
Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae): Roosting and Foraging Behaviour. Canadian Journal of 
Zoology 61:1487-1491. 

Linkhart, B.D. 1984. Range, Activity, and Habitat use by Nesting Flammulated Owls in a 

Colorado ponderosa pine forest. Unpublished M.S. Thesis, Colorado State University, 
Fort Collins. 45 pp. 

Loeffler, C. (ed.). 1998. Conservation plan and agreement for the management and recovery 
of the southern rocky Mountain population of the boreal toad {Bufo boreas boreas). 
Boreal Toad Recovery Team. 66 pp. + appendices. 

Madariaga, K. 1 999. District Wildlife Manager, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Paonia, Colorado. 
Phone Conversation with M. Phelan, Cedar Creek Associates, Inc., Fort Collins, 
Colorado. July 14, 1999. 

Maddux, H. R., L. A. Fitzpatrick, and W. R. Noonan. 1993. Colorado River Endangered Fishes 
Critical Habitat. Draft Biological Support Document. U.S. Department of the Interior, 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah/Colorado Field Office, Salt Lake City, Utah, 225 pp. 

Markarian, R., J. Barber, and L. Giese. 1994. A Critical Review of Toxicity Values and an 
Evaluation of the Persistence of Petroleum Products for use in Natural Resource 
Damage Assessments. Prepared for the American Petroleum Institute, Health and 
Environmental Sciences Department, API Publication No. 4594. 

Mattson, LL. and J.A. Magers. 1995. Subsidence Impacts on Ground and Surface Water at a 
Western coal mine. Proceedings of Joseph B. Poland Symposium on Land 
Subsidence, Association of Engineering Geologists Annual Meeting. 

McCallum, D.A. 1994. Review of Technical Knowledge: Flammulated Owls. Pp. 14-46, In: 
Hayward, G.O. and J. Verner (eds.). 1994. Flammulated, boreal, and great gray owls 
in the United States: a technical conservation assessment. USDA Forest Service, 
General Technical Report RM-253. 213 pp. + maps. 

Miller, W. H., J. J. Valentine, D. L. Archer, H. M. Tyus, R. A. Valdez, and L. Kaeding. 1982. 

Colorado River Fishery Project: Part 1 , Summary Report; Part 2, Field Studies; and Part 
3, Contract Reports. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Mills, Richard. Cyprus Twentymile Coal Company. Presentation to Utah Coal Operators 
Association, March 1999. 

Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. 1996. A Profile of the Cultural Resources of 
Colorado . Colorado Historical Society, Denver. 

Oxbow Mining Co. 1 999. Draft Permit Application and Water Quality Data for the Sanborn 
Creek and Elk Creek Mines, Montgomery Watson. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 6 Page 6-7 

Osmundson, D. B. and L R. Kaeding. 1991. Recommendations for Flows in the 15-mile 
Reach during October-June Maintenance and Enhancement of Endangered Fish 
Populations in the Upper Colorado River. Final Report, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Region 6, Grand Junction, Colorado, 82 pp. 

Pelton, M.R. 1982. Black bear. Pp. 504-514 In: Chapman, J.A. and G.A. Feldhamer (eds.). 
1982. Wild mammals of North America. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 
1147 pp. 

Pitts, J.N. and Finalyson-Pitts, B.J. 1986. Atmospheric Chemistry: Fundamentals and 
Experimental Techniques. Wiley and Sons, 1986. 

Pfeifer, F. K. and B. D. Burdick. 1998. A Five-Year Experimental Stocking Plan to Evaluate 

Survival of Various Sizes of Razorback Sucker. Report Prepared for the Colorado River 
Recovery Plan. Project No. 50, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado River Fishery 
Project, Grand Junction, Colorado, 28 pp. 

Pontasch, K. and M. Brusven. 1988. Macroinvertebrate Response to a Gasoline Spill in Wolf 
Lodge Creek, Idaho, USA. Archives of Hydrology 1 13(1):41-60. 

Reed, Alan D. 1984. West Central Colorado Prehistoric Context . Colorado Historical Society, 
Denver. 

Reynolds, R.T., R.A. Ryder, and B.D. Linkhart. 1989. Small forest owls. Pp. 134-143 In: 

Proceedings of the Western Raptor Management Symposium and Workshop, October 
1987. National Wildlife Federation Scientific and Technical Series No. 12. 317 pp. 

Rose, K.L. 1996. Assistant Field Supervisor, USD!, Fish and Wildlife Service, Grand Junction, 
Colorado. Letter to Interested Parties. Dated June 6, 1996. 

Rudin, R. 1999. Ditch Manager, Paonia, Colorado. Personal Communication with Rollin 
Daggett, Hydrobios Consultants, May 17, 1999. 

Scott, V.E., J.E. Whelan, and P.L. Svoboda. 1980. Cavity nesting birds and forest 

management. Pp. 31 1-324 in R.M. DeGraaf (tech. Coord). Proceedings of workshop 
on management of western forests and grasslands for nongame birds. U.S. For. Serv. 
Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-86. Intermountain For. And Range Exp. Sta., Ogden, UT. 

Sedgwick, J.A. and F.L. Knopf. 1992. Describing willow flycatcher habitats: scale perspectives 
and gender differences. Condor 94:720-733. 

Seigneur C. and Wu A. 1 992. Quantitative Assessment of the Effect of Various Emission 

Control Technologies on Aerosol Formation. Presented at AWMA Conference on Non- 
Traditional Source Controls, Phoenix, AZ, 1992. 

Sigler, W.F. and R. R. Miller. 1963. Fishes of Utah. Utah Department of Fish and Game, Salt 
Lake City, Utah. 203 pp. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 6-8 References September 1999 

Slaughter, C.B., et al. 1 995. Hydrology of the North Fork of the Right Fork of Miller Creek, 

Carbon Creek, Utah, Before, During and After Underground Coal Mining. USGS, Water 
Resources Investigations Report, 95-4025. 

Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. 1997. 
Colorado Rare Plant Field Guide. Prepared for the Bureau of Land Management, the 
U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Colorado Natural 
Heritage Program. 

Sublette, J. E., M. D. Hatch, and M. Sublette. 1990. The Fishes of New Mexico. University of 
New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 393 pp. 

Terres, J.K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. 
Knopf, New York. 1 1 09 pp. 

Towry, Jr., R.K. 1987. Wildlife habitat requirements. Pages 73-209 in R.L Hoover and D.L 
Wills (eds.). Managing forested lands for wildlife. Colorado Division of Wildlife in 
cooperation with USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Denver, Colorado. 459 
pp. 

Tyus, H.M., B.D. Burdick, R.A. Valdez, CM. Haynes, T.A. Lytle, and C.R. Berry. 1982. Fishes 
of the Upper Colorado River Basin: Distribution, Abundance and Status. Pp. 12-70. In: 
Fishes of the Upper Colorado River System: Present and Future. Western Division, 
American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland. 

USDI. 1971. Clean Water Act. 

USEPA. 1994. Summary of EPA Finalized National Drinking Water Regulations. July 1994 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995. Intra-Service Section 7 Consultation for Elimination of 
Fees for Water Depletions of 100-acre feet or Less From the Upper Colorado River 
Basin. Memorandum to the Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, March 9, 
1995,42 pp. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 

Determination of Critical Habitat for the Colorado River Endangered Fishes: Razorback 
Sucker, Colorado Squawfish, Humpback Chub, and Bonytail Chub. Federal Register 
59(54); 13374-13400. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1984. American peregrine falcon recovery plan (Rocky 

Mountain/Southwest population). Prepared in cooperation with the American Peregrine 
Falcon Recovery Team. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colorado. 105 pp. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1983. Northern states bald eagle recovery plan. U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Denver, Colorado. 117 pp. 

U.S. Forest Service. 1999. Pines Tract Project, Final EIS. Manti-LaSal National Forest. 

U.S. Forest Service. 1991. Land and Resource Management Plan. Gunnison National Forest. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 6 Page 6-9 

U.S. Forest Service. 1986. Stevens Gulch Road and Related Timber Sales. Final 

Environmental Impact Statement. Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National 
Forests. 

U.S. Forest Service. 1979. Final Environmental Impact Statement 78-04, Roadless Area 
review and Evaluation, RARE II. 

USGS. 1997. Water Resources Data Colorado. Water year 1997, Volume 2. Water-Data 
Report CO-97-2). 

Valdez, R. A. and E. J. Wick. 1983. Natural Versus Manmade Backwaters as Native Fish 

Habitat. Pp. 519-536. In: Adams, V. D. and V. A. Lamarra (Eds.). Aquatic Resources 
Management of the Colorado River Ecosystem. Ann Arbor Science, Ann Arbor, 
Michigan. 

Valdez, R. A. and G. H. Clemmer. 1982. Life History and Prospects for Recovery of the 

Humpback and Bonytail Chub. Pp. 109-119. In: Fishes of the Upper Colorado River 
System: Present and Future. American Fisheries Society Symposium Proceedings, 
Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Valdez, R. A., P. Mangan, R. Smith, and B. Niison. 1982. Upper Colorado River Investigation 
(Rifle, Colorado, to Lake Powell, Utah). Pp. 101-279. In: Colorado River Fishery 
Project, Final Report Field Investigations, Part 2, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. 
Bureau of Reclamation, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Vanicek, C. D. and R. H. Kramer. 1969. Life History of the Colorado Squawfish, Ptychocheilus 
lucius, and the Colorado Chub, Gila robusta, in the Green River in Dinosaur National 
Monument, 1964-1966. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 98(2): 193- 
208. 

Wang, A. 1998. Wildlife, Fisheries, and TES Input for Oxbow Mining, Inc., Coal Lease. 

Memorandum Sent to Mike Ward, U.S. Forest Service, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and 
Gunnison National Forests, Paonia Ranger District, Paonia, Colorado, 7 pp. 

Waters, T. 1995. Sediment in Streams: Sources, Biological Effects, and Control. American 
Fisheries Society Monograph No. 7, 251 pp. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Chapter 7 



Glossary 



September 1999 Chapter 7 Page 7 . T 

7.0 GLOSSARY 

A 

AAQS: Ambient Air Quality Standards (set by EPA based on Federal Clean Air Act). 

Acre-foot: The amount of water or sediment volume which covers an acre of land to a depth of 
one foot; an acre-foot is equal to 325,851 gallons or 43,560 cubic feet. 

ADT: Average daily traffic - A measure of traffic over a 24-hour period. Determined by 

counting the number of vehicles (from both directions) passing a specific point on a 
given road. 

Aerial: Consisting of, moving through, found, or suspended in the air. 

Affect: To conduct an activity which will impact land, air, or water resources so as to disturb the 
natural land surface. 

Affected environment: A physical, biological, social, and economic environment within which 
human activity is proposed. 

Alluvium: Unconsolidated sedimentary material (including clay, silt, sand, gravel, and mud) 
deposited by flowing water. 

Alternatives: The different means by which objectives or goals can be attained. One of 
several policies, plans, or projects proposed for decision-making. 

Ambient: The environment as it exists at the point of measurement and against which 
changes (impacts) are measured. 

Ambient air quality standard: Air pollutant concentrations of the surrounding outside 
environment which cannot legally be exceeded during fixed time intervals within 
specific geographic areas. 

Ambient noise level: The composite of noise from all sources near and far. In this context, 
the ambient noise level constitutes the normal or existing level of environmental 
noise at a given location. 

Angle of Draw: The angle that defines the limit of surface subsidence. It is measured as the 
angle from a vertical projection from the edge of underground coal extraction limit. 

ANC: Acid neutralization capacity. 

APCD: Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and 
Environment. 

APEN: Air Pollution Emission Notice. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 7-2 Glossary September 1999 

Aquatic: Growing, living in, frequenting, or taking place in water; in this Environmental Impact 
Statement, used to indicate habitat, vegetation, and wildlife in freshwater. 

Aquifer: A zone, stratum, or group of strata acting as a hydraulic unit that stores or transmits 
water in sufficient quantities for beneficial use. 

Aquitard: A confining bed that retards but does not prevent the flow of water to or from an 
adjacent aquifer; a leaky confining bed. It does not readily yield water to wells or 
springs, but may serve as a storage unit for groundwater. 

Areal: The spatial extent or location. 

Artifact: An object made or modified by humans. 

Aspect: The direction toward which a slope faces. 

Attachment area: A geographic region with which National Ambient Air Quality Standards 
(NAAQS) are met; three categories of attainment are defined as Class I, Class II, 
and Class III on the basis of the level of degradation of air quality which may be 
permitted. 

Audible: Capable of being heard. 



BA: Biological Assessment - Refers to the information prepared by or under the direction of 
the federal agency concerning listed and proposed species and designated and 
proposed critical habitat that may be present in the action area and the evaluation of 
potential effects of the action on such species and habitat. 

Base flow: A sustained or fair-weather flow of a stream. 

Baseline data: Data gathered prior to the proposed action to characterize pre-development 
site conditions. 

BE: Biological Evaluation - Refers to the information prepared by or under the direction of the 
Forest Service concerning listed and Regional Forester Sensitive Species that may be 
present in the action area and the evaluation of potential affects of the alternatives on 
such species and habitat. 

Best Management Practices: Management actions that are designed to maintain 
water quality by preventative rather than corrective means. 

Big game: Large animals hunted, or potentially hunted, for sport. These include animals such 
as deer, bear, elk, bobcats and mountain lions. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 7 Page 7- 3 

Biological Opinion: A document that states the opinion of the U.S. D.I. Fish and 

Wildlife Service as to whether or not the federal action is likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification 
of critical habitat. 

BLM: Bureau of Land Management - The agency of the United States Government, under 

the Department of the Interior, responsible for administering certain public lands of the 
United States. 

Bond: A sum of money which, under contract, one party pays another party under conditions 
that when certain obligations or acts are met, the money is then returned; such as 
after mining reclamation occurs. Also referred to as performance security. See 
"reclamation guarantee". 

BTU: British Thermal Unit - The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one 
pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. 



Coal exploration: The field gathering of surface or subsurface geologic, physical, or chemical 
data by mapping, trenching, drilling, geophysical, or other techniques necessary to 
determine the quality and quantity of coal in an area. 

Coal waste rock: Waste rock is the non-coal material that is removed while mining. It contains 
no coal or coal below the economic cutoff level, and must be removed as part of mining. 

Capability: The potential of an area of land to produce resources, supply goods and services, 
and allow resource uses under an assumed set of management practices at a given 
level of management intensity. Capability depends upon current conditions and site 
conditions such as climate, slope, landform, soils, and geology, as well as the 
application of management practices. 

CEQ: Council on Environmental Quality - An advisory council to the President of the United 

States; established by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. It reviews federal 
programs for their effect on the environment, conducts environmental studies, and 
advises the President on environmental matters. 

CFR: Code of Federal Regulations - A codification of the general and permanent rules 

published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the 
Federal Government. 

Cfs: Cubic feet per second - 1 cfs equals 448.33 gallons per minute. 

Colluvium: Soil material or rock fragments moved down slope by gravitational force in the form 
of creep, slides, and local wash. 

Concern: A point, matter, or questions raised by management or the public that must be 
addressed in the planning process. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 7-4 Glossary September 1999 

Crucial winter range: those areas which, during the winter months, determine a population's 
ability to maintain and reproduce itself at a certain level over the long-term. 

Cultural resources: The remains of sites, structures, or objects used by humans in the past, 
historic or prehistoric. More recently referred to as heritage resources. 

Cumulative effects or impacts: Cumulative effect or impact is the impact on the environment 
which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, 
present, and reasonable foreseeable future actions, regardless of what agency (federal 
or non-federal) or person undertakes such other actions. Cumulative impacts can result 
from individually minor but collectively significant actions taken place over a period of 
time (40 CFR 1508.7 - these regulations use effects and impacts synonymously). For 
example, the impacts of a proposed timber sale and the development of a mine together 
result in cumulative impacts. 



dB: Decibel scale. 

dBA: Decibel - A unit for expressing the relative intensity (loudness) of sound (decibel or 
dBA), weighted along the audible frequencies. 

DBH: Diameter of a tree at breast height (four feet, six inches from ground level). 

Decision-makers: The agencies, or designated representatives within the agencies, who must 
make the final decisions based upon the information presented in this Environmental 
Impact Statement. 

Decommissioning: Suspension and/or closure of operations and possible removal of 
facilities. 

Demography: A statistical study of the characteristics of human populations with reference to 
size, density, growth, distribution, migration, and effect on social and economic 
conditions. 

Density: The number of individuals in a given area. Expressed per unit area. 

Deposit: A natural accumulation, such as precious metals, minerals, coal, gas, oil, etc. that 
may be pursued for its intrinsic value; coal deposit. 

Detection limit: The lowest concentration of a chemical that can be reliably reported to be 
different from zero concentration. Various analytical instrumentation has different 
detection limits. 

Dewatering: To remove water from the coal seam. 

Dilution: The act of mixing or thinning, and therefore decreasing a certain strength or 
concentration. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 7 Page 7 -5 

Dip: The angle at which rock stratum, veining, or any plane (fault) is inclined from a horizontal 
plane. 

Direct impacts: Impacts which are caused by the action and occur at the same time and 
place. 

Discharge: The volume of water flowing past a point per unit time, commonly expressed as 
cubic feet per second, million gallons per day, gallons per minute, or cubic meters per 
second. 

Diversion: Removing water from its natural course or location, or controlling water in its 

natural course or location, by means of a ditch, canal, flume, reservoir, bypass, pipeline, 
conduit, well, pump, or other structure or device. 

Draft EIS: The draft state of environmental effects which is required for major federal actions 
under Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act, and released to the public 
and other agencies for comment and review. 

Drilling: Exploratory action conducted to gather subsurface geologic, physical, or chemical 
data to determine the location, quantity, or quality of the natural mineral deposit of an 
area, including holes drilled for use as water wells. 



EA: Environmental Assessment. 

Effects: "Effect" and "impact" are synonymous as used in this document. Environmental 

changes resulting from a proposed action. Included are direct effects, which are caused 
by the action and occur at the same time and place, and indirect effects, which are 
caused by the action and are later in time or further removed in distance, but which are 
still reasonably foreseeable. Indirect effects may include growth-inducing effects and 
other effects related to induced changes in the pattern of land use, population density, 
or growth rate, and related effects on air and water and other natural systems, including 
ecosystems. 

EIS: Environmental impact Statement - An analytical document prepared under the National 
Environmental Policy Act that portrays potential impacts to the environment of a 
proposed action and its possible alternatives. An EIS is developed for use by decision- 
makers to weigh the environmental consequences of a potential decision. 

Employment: Labor input into a production process, measured in the number of person-years 
or jobs. A person-year is approximately 2,000 working hours by one person working 
year long or by several persons working seasonally. The number of jobs required to 
produce the output of each sector. A job may be one week, one month, or one year. 

Endangered species: Any species of animal or plant that is in danger of extinction throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range. Plant or animal species identified by the 
Secretary of the Interior or endangered in accordance with the 1973 Endangered 
Species Act. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 7-6 Glossary September 1999 

Environment: The physical conditions that exist within the area that will be affected by a 

proposed project, including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, ambient noise, and 
objects of historical or aesthetic significance. The sum of all external conditions that 
affect an organism or community to influence its development or existence. 

EPA: Environmental Protection Agency - An agency of the Executive Branch of the Federal 
Government which has responsibility for environmental matters of national concern. 

Ephemeral stream: A stream or portion of a stream that flows only in direct response to 
precipitation or snow melt. Such flow is usually of short duration. 

Erosion: The wearing away of the land surface by running water, wind, ice, or other geologic 
agents, including gravitation creep. 

Exploration: The search for economic deposits of minerals, gas, oil or coal through the 

practices of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, drilling, shaft sinking, and/or mapping. 



Fault: Displacement of rock along a sheer surface or liner plane. 

Feasible: Capable of being accomplished in a successful manner within a reasonable period 
of time, taking into account economic, environmental, legal, social, and technological 
factors. 

Feasibility Study: As applied to mining, the feasibility study follows discovery of the mineral 

and is prepared by the mining company or an independent consultant. Its purpose is to 
analyze the rate of monetary return that can be expected from the mine at a certain rate 
of production. Based on this study, the decision by the company to develop the ore 
body may be made. 

Final EIS: Means a detailed written statement as required by Section 12(2)(C) of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR 1508.1 1). It is a revision of the Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement to include public and agency comments to the draft. 

Fisheries habitat: Streams, lakes, and reservoirs that support fish populations. 

Fishery: All activities related to human harvest of a fisheries resource. 

Forest Plan: Each of the National Forests administered by the Forest Service is operated 
under a "Land and Resource Management Plan" as required by the National Forest 
Management Act of 1976. The 1976 Act was an amendment to the Multiple Use 
Sustained Yield Act of 1960 and the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources 
Planning Act of 1 974. Forest Plans are prepared under the authority of these acts. 

Forest Service: An agency of the United States, under the Department of Agriculture, 

responsible for administering certain public lands (Forest System Lands) of the United 
States. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Imoact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 7 



Page 7-7 



Fugitive dust: Dust particles suspended randomly in the air, usually from road travel, 
excavation, and/or rock loading operations. 



Game species: Any species of wildlife or fish for which seasons and bag limits have been 

prescribed and which are normally harvested by hunters, trappers, and fishermen under 
state or federal laws, codes and regulations. 

Geohydrology: Refers to the hydrologic or flow characteristics of subsurface waters. Often 
interchangeable with hydrogeology. 

Geotechnical engineering: A branch of engineering that is essentially concerned with the 
engineering design aspects of slope stability, settlement, earth pressures, bearing 
capacity, seepage control, and erosion. 

GMUG: Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison. 

Gpd, gph, gpm: Gallons per day, gallons per hour, gallons per minute. 

Groundwater: Water found beneath the land surface in the zone of saturation below the water 
table. 

Growth media: All materials, including topsoil, specified soil horizons, vegetative debris, and 
organic water, which are classified as suitable for stockpiling and/or reclamation. 

Guidelines: An indication or outline of policy or conduct; (i.e., any issuance that assists in 
determining the course of direction to be taken in any planned action to accomplish a 
specific objective. 

H 

Habitat: The natural environment of a plant or animal, including all biotic, climatic, and soil 
conditions, or other environmental influences affecting living conditions. The place 
where an organism lives. 

Habitat capability: The estimated ability of an area, given existing or predicted habitat 

conditions, to support a wildlife, fish or plant population. It is measured in terms of 
potential population numbers. 

Haul road: A road used by large (typically off-highway) trucks to haul ore and overburden from 
a mine to other locations, such as a mill facility or waste rock disposal area. 

Hydraulic conductivity: A measure of the ability of rock or soil to permit the flow of 
groundwater under a pressure gradient; permeability. 

Hydrologic system: All physical factors, such as precipitation, stream flow, snowmelt, 
groundwater, etc., that effect the hydrology of a specific area. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Imoact Statement 



Page 7-8 Glossary September 1999 

I 

ID Team: Interdisciplinary Team - The interdisciplinary team is comprised of a group of 

personnel with different training, assembled to solve a problem or perform a task. The 
team will consider problems collectively, rather than separate concerns along 
disciplinary lines. This interaction is intended to insure systematic, integrated 
consideration of physical, biological, economic, environmental design arts and sciences. 

Impermeable: Property of a substance that inhibits passage of fluids through its mass. 

IMPLAN: Impact Analysis for Planning - A comprehensive and detailed database covering 

the entire United States, broken down by county and in some cases down to zip code 
level. IMPLAN is primarily used for assessing potential impacts to a community due to 
changes in the local economy. Originally developed through a cooperative between the 
U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, BLM, and the 
University of Minnesota. Currently, the database is maintained in Minnesota IMPLAN 
Group, Inc. 

impoundment: The collection and confinement of water in a reservoir or other storage area. 

Increment: The amount of change from an existing concentration or amount; such as air 
pollutant concentrations. 

Indirect Impacts: Impacts which are caused by the action but are later in time or farther 
removed in distance, although still reasonably foreseeable. 

Infiltration: The movement of water or some other fluid into the soil through pores or other 
openings. 

informal consultation: An optional process that includes all discussions, 

correspondence, etc. between the U.S. D.I. Fish and Wildlife Service and another federal 
agency or the designated non-federal representative prior to formal consultation, if 
required. 

infrastructure: The underlying foundation or basic framework; substructure of a community 
(i.e., schools, police, fire services, hospitals, water and sewer systems). 

Intermittent stream: A stream that runs water in most months, but does not contain water 
year-round. 

Irretrievable: Applies primarily to the use of non-renewable resources, such as minerals or 
cultural resources, or to those factors that are renewable only over long time spans, 
such as soil productivity. Irreversible also includes loss of future options. 

Irreversible: Resource commitments that can not be reversed except perhaps in the extreme 
long term. 

Issue: A point, matter, or question of public discussion or interest to be addressed or decided 
through a planning process. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 7 p age 7.9 



Jeopardy or jeopardize the continued existence of: Means to engage in an action 

that reasonably would be expected, directly or indirectly, to reduce appreciably the 
likelihood of both the survival and recovery of a listed species in the wild by reducing the 
reproduction, numbers, or distribution of that species. A jeopardy opinion would result in 
the U.S. D.I. Fish and Wildlife Service developing reasonable and prudent alternatives 
for the proposed action. 

Jurisdictional wetland: A wetland area delineated and identified by specific technical criteria, 
field indicators and other information for purposes of public agency jurisdiction. The 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulate "dredging and filling" activities associated with 
jurisdictional wetlands. Other federal agencies that can become involved with matters 
that concern jurisdictional wetlands include the U.S. D.I. Fish and Wildlife Service, the 
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. 

K 



Land management: The intentional process of planning, organizing, programming, 
coordinating, directing, and controlling land use actions. 

Land Management Plan: See "Forest Plan." 

Land status: The ownership status of lands. 

LBA: Lease-by-application. 

Lead agency: In NEPA (40 CFR 1501.5), the agency(s) with main responsibility for complying 
with NEPA procedural requirements, such as supervising the preparation of an 
Environmental Impact Statement. 

Leaseable minerals: Minerals such as coal, oil shale, oil and gas, phosphate, potash, sodium, 
geothermal resources, and all other minerals that may be acquired under the Mineral 
Leasing Act of 1920, as amended. 

Lease: A document through which interests are transferred from one party to another, subject 
to certain rights, obligations, and considerations. 

Listed species: Species that are listed as threatened or endangered under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (as amended). 

Long-term impacts: Impacts that normally result in permanent changes to the environment. 

An example is a topographic change resulting from tailings disposal in a drainage. Each 
resource, by necessity, may vary in its definition of long-term. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 7-10 Glossary September 1999 

Longwall mining system: A mining system which utilizes a shearing device with two rotating 
drums for cutting coal, a self-propelled hydraulic roof support, and a conveyor to 
continuously mine coal. 

LRMP: Land and Resource Management Plan 

M 

Magazine: A storage facility for explosives. Magazines are built to specifications set by the 
Mine Safety and Health Administration and are usually located in a secure but remote 
area of a mine site. 

Management activity: An activity of man imposed on a landscape for the purpose of 
harvesting, traversing, transporting, or replenishing natural resources. 

Management area: An area with similar management objectives and a common management 
prescription. 

Management direction: A statement of multiple use and other goals and objectives, and the 
associated management prescriptions, and standards and guidelines for attaining them 
(36 CFR 219.3). 

Mean: A statistical value calculated by dividing the sum of a set of sample values by the 
number of samples. Also referred to as the arithmetic mean or average. 

Mine facilities: Those structures and areas incidental to the operation of the mine, including 

mine offices, processing facilities, mineral stockpiles, storage facilities, shipping, loadout 
and repair facilities, and utility corridors. 

Migratory: Moving from place to place, daily or seasonally. 

Mitigation: Mitigation includes; (a) avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action 
or parts of an action; (b) minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the 
action and its implementation; (c) rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or 
restoring the affected environment; (d) reducing or eliminating the impact over time by 
preservation and maintenance of operations during the life of the action; and, (e) 
compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or 
environments (40 CFR 1508.20). 

Monitoring and evaluation: A watching, observing or checking, in this instance, a testing of 
specific environmental parameters and of project waste streams for purposes of 
comparing with permit stipulations, pollution control regulations, mitigation plan goals, 
etc. The periodic evaluation of management practices on a sample basis to determine 
how well objectives have been met. 

MOU: Memorandum of Understanding - Usually documenting an agreement reached amongst 
federal agencies. 

MSHA: Mine Safety and Health Administration - Federal agency under the Department of 
Labor which regulates worker health and safety in mining operations. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 7 Page 7-11 

Multiple use: The management concepts under which National Forest and BLM lands are 

managed. The management of the lands and their various resource values so they are 
utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the 
American people. 

N 

NAAQS: National Ambient Air Quality Standards. 

NADP: National Atmospheric Deposition Program. 

National Forest Land Resource Management Plan: A plan which "...shall provide for multiple 
use and sustained yield of goods and services from the National Forest System in a way 
that maximizes long-term net public benefits in an environmentally sound manner." (36 
CFR219). 

NEPA: An act declaring a national policy which encourages productive and enjoyable harmony 
between humankind and the environment, promotes efforts which will prevent or 
eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and 
welfare of humanity, enriches the understanding of the ecological systems and natural 
resources important to the nation, and establishes a Council on Environmental Quality. 
(The Principal Laws Relating to Forest Service Activities, Agriculture Handbook No. 453, 
USDA, Forest Service, 359 pp). 

NEPA process: Measures necessary to comply with the requirements of Section 2 and Title I 
of the National Environmental Policy Act. 

NFMA: National Forest Management Act - A law passed in 1976 as an amendment to the 

Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act, requiring the preparation of 
Regional Guidelines and Forest Plans and the preparation of regulations to guide 
development on forest lands. 

Non-game species: Animal species which are not hunted, fished, or trapped. 

NOx: Nitrogen oxides - A product of vehicle exhaust. 

NPDES: National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System - A program authorized by Sections 
318, 402 and 405 of the Clean Water Act, and implemented by regulations 40 CFR 122. 
NPDES program requires permits for the discharge of pollutants from any point source 
into Waters of the United States. 

NRHP: National Register of Historic Places. 

NSPS: New Source Performance Standards - Standards set by EPA defining the allowable 

pollutant discharge (air and water) and applicable pollution control for new facilities; by 
industrial category. (Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act) 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 7-12 Glossary September 1999 



Objective: A concise, time-specific statement of measurable planned results that respond to 
pre-established goals. An objective forms the basis for further planning to define the 
precise steps to be taken and the resources to be used in achieving identified goals. 

OSM: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. An agency of the United States 
government within the Department of the Interior charged with regulating coal mining 
operations. 

Overburden: Material of any nature that overlies a deposit of useful materials; waste earth and 
rock covering a coal or mineral deposit. 



PAP: Permit application package. 

Particulates: Small particles suspended in the air or generally considered pollutants. 

Perennial stream: A stream that flows year-round. 

Performance bond: See "reclamation guarantee." 

Permeability: The property or capacity of a porous rock, sediment, or soil for transmitting a 
fluid; it is a measure of the relative ease of fluid flow under unequal pressure. 

Permit area: The area of land and water within the boundaries of the approved permit or 

permits during the entire life of the operation and includes all affected lands and waters. 

pH: Symbol for the negative common logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration (acidity) of 
a solution. The pH of 7 is considered neutral. A pH number below 7 indicates acidity, 
and a pH value above 7 indicates alkalinity or a base. 

Piezometer: A device for measuring moderate groundwater pressure. 

Piezometric surface: Any imaginary surface coinciding with the hydraulic pressure level of the 
water in a confined aquifer, or the surface representing the static head of groundwater 
and defined by the level to which water will rise in a well. A water table is a particular 
piezometric surface. 

Planning records: The body of information documenting the NEPA decisions and activities 
which result from the process of developing environmental documents; also known as 
an administrative record. 

Plant communities: A vegetation complex unique in its combination of plants which occurs in 
particular locations under particular influences. A plant community is a reflection of 
integrated environmental influences on the site such as soils, temperature, elevation, 
solar radiation, slope aspects, and precipitation. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 7-13 



September 1999 Chapter 7 

PM10: Particulates of 10 microns in size or less, usually describing a source of air quality 
degradation. 

Point source: Stationary sources of potential pollutants. In terms of mining, some examples 
of point sources are crushing and screening equipment, conveyor transfer points, and 
pond outlets. 

Policy: A guiding principle upon which is based a specific decision or set of decisions. 

Pollution: Human-caused or natural alteration of the physical, biological, and radiological 

integrity of water, air, or other aspects of the environment producing undesired effects. 

Portal: An underground coal mining term. A horizontal or nearly horizontal access opening 
into a coal mine. Different from a tunnel which has both ends opening to the surface. 

Potable water: Suitable, safe, or prepared for drinking. 

Potentiometric surface: Surface to which water in an aquifer would rise by hydrostatic 
pressure. (See "piezometric surface"). 

ppm: Parts per million. 

Precipitation event: A quantity of water resulting from drizzle, rain, snow, sleet, or hail in a 
limited period of time. It may be expressed in terms of recurrence, interval, and 
duration. 

Prehistoric: Relating to the times just preceding the period of recorded history. 

Production rate: The quantity of coal mined in a given time period. 

Project: The whole of an action, which has a potential for resulting in a physical change in the 
environment. An organized effort to achieve an objective identified by location, timing, 
activities, outputs, effects, and time period and responsibilities for executions. 

Proposed action: A description of the project as proposed by a project proponent in a plan of 
operations. 

PSD: Prevention of Significant Deterioration - A specific permit procedure established in the 
Clean Air Act, as amended, used to ensure that economic growth occurs in a manner 
consistent with the protection of public health; preservation of air quality related values 
in national special interest areas; the opportunity for informed public participation in the 
decision-making process. 

Public land: Lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, or other 
governmental agencies. 

Public participation: Meetings, conferences, seminars, workshops, tours, written comments, 
responses to survey questionnaires, and similar activities designed and held to obtain 
comments from the public about planning. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 7-14 Glossary September 1999 

Public scoping: Giving the public the opportunity for oral or written comments concerning the 
intentions, activity, or influence of a project on an individual, the community, and/or the . 
environment. 



Raptor: Bird of prey, including eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls. 

Reclamation: Returning disturbed land to a productive form, usually in conformity with a 
predetermined Land Management Plan or a government approved plan or permit. 

Reclamation guarantee: A binding commitment payable to a government agency in the event 
that decommissioning and reclamation of an operation is not completed according to an 
approved plan or permit. See "bond." 

Reclamation Plan: A document that details the measures to be taken by a project proponent 
(permit holder) to reclaim the project lands; such a document can contain reclamation 
measures to be employed during mining operations but typically describes measures to 
be used after mining and milling have been completed. 

Resident: A species, which is found in a particular habitat for a particular time period (i.e., 
winter resident, summer resident, year-round) as opposed to those found only when 
passing through on migration. 

Riparian: A type of ecological community that occurs adjacent to streams and rivers and is 
directly influenced by water. It is characterized by certain types of vegetation, soils, 
hydrology, and fauna and requires free or unbound water or conditions more moist than 
that normally found in the area. 

Riparian zone: Terrestrial areas where the vegetation and microclimate are influenced by 

perennial and/or intermittent water, associated high water tables and soils which exhibit 
some wetness characteristics; this habitat is transitional between true bottom land 
wetlands and upland terrestrial habitats. 

RMP: Resource Management Plan. 

ROD: Record of Decision - A document separate from, but associated with, an Environmental 
Impact Statement which states the decision, identifies alternatives, specifying which 
were environmentally preferable, and states whether all practicable means to avoid 
environmental harm from the alternative have been adopted, and if not, why not (40 
CFR 1505.2). 

Room-and-Pillar Mining: A mining system that uses a continuous miner to excavate coal 
(rooms) leaving a rectangular pattern of coal (pillars) as roof support in the mine. 

Runoff: Precipitation that is not retained on the site where it falls, not absorbed by the soil; 
natural drainage away from an area. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 7 Page 7-15 



Safety factor: A safety factor is a ratio of resisting forces to driving forces. By determining a 
structure's safety factor, a numerical index of stability is obtained. 

Scoping process: A part of the National Environmental Policy Act process; early and open 
activities used to determine the scope and significance of the issues, and the range of 
actions, alternatives, and impacts to be considered in an Environmental Impact 
Statement (40 CFR 1501.7). 

Sediment: Each material transported, suspended, or deposited by water; also, the same 
material once it has been deposited. 

Sedimentation pond: A sediment control structure designed, constructed, and maintained to 
slow down or impound precipitation runoff to reduce sediment concentrations in a point 
source discharge, including dams or excavated depressions. The term does not include 
straw dikes, riprap, check dams, mulches, collection ditches, toe ditches, vegetative 
buffers, gabions, contour furrows, and other traditional soil conservation techniques and 
non-point source runoff controls. 

Sensitive species: Plant or animal species which are susceptible or vulnerable to activity 
impacts or habitat alterations. Those species that have appeared in the Federal 
Register as proposed for classification or are under consideration for official listing as 
endangered or threatened species, that are on an official state list, or that are 
recognized by the regional Forester as needing special management to prevent 
placement on federal or state lists. 

Shaft: An underground coal mining term. A vertical or inclined passageway which connects 
two or more levels in a mine. 

SHPO: State Historic Preservation Office. 

Short-term impacts: Impacts occurring during project construction and operation, and 

normally ceasing upon project closure and reclamation. Each resource, by necessity, 
may vary in its definition of short-term. 

Significant: Requires consideration of both context and intensity. Context means that the 
significance of an action must be analyzed in several contexts such as society as a 
whole, and the affected region, interests, and locality. Intensity refers to the severity of 
impacts. The severity of an impact should be weighted along with the likelihood of its 
occurrence. 

SMCRA:. Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. 

SO2: Sulfur oxides, including sulfur dioxide (SO2). A product of vehicle tailpipe emissions. 

Socioeconomic: Pertaining to, or signifying the combination or interaction of social and 
economic factors. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 7-16 Glossary September 1999 

Soil horizon: A layer of soil material approximately parallel to the land surface differing from 
adjacent genetically related layers in physical, chemical, and biological properties. 

Solid waste: Garbage, refuse, and/or sludge from a waste treatment plant, water supply 

treatment plant, or air pollution control facility, and other discarded material, including 
solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material resulting from industrial, 
commercial, mining, agricultural, and community activities. 

Sound level (dBA): The sound pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound level meter 
using the A-weighing filter network. The A-weighing filter de-emphasizes the very low 
and very high frequency components of the sound in a manner similar to the responses 
of the human ear and gives good correlation with subjective reactions to noise. 

SPCC: Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan - A plan which the EPA requires 
having on file within six months of project inception. It is a contingency plan for 
avoidance of, containment of, and response to hazardous materials spills or leaks. 

Standard: A model, example, or goal established by authority, custom, or general consent as 
a rule for the measurement of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality. 

Stream gradient: The rate of fall or loss of elevation over the physical length of a segment or 
total stream usually expressed in ft/ft (%). 

Subsidence: A lowering of surface land caused by the collapse of rock and soil into an 
underground void. 

Substantive comment: A comment that provides factual information, professional opinion, or 
informed judgement germane to the action being proposed. 



TDS: Total Dissolved Solids - Any finely divided materials (with a diameter smaller than a few 
hundred micrometers) suspended in liquids such as water. 

Terrestrial: Of or relating to the earth, soil, or land; an inhabitant of the earth or land. 

Threatened species: Those plants or animal species likely to become endangered species 
throughout all or a significant potion of their range within the foreseeable future. 

Third-party contractor: An independent firm, usually contracted by a government agency, to 
perform work related to a proposed action or another organization; due to the financial 
and contractual arrangements governing such relationships, the third-party contractor 
has no financial or other interest in the decision to be reached on the project. 

Topography: A configuration of a surface including its relief, elevation, and the portion of its 
natural and human-created features. 

tpd: Tons per day. 

TPH: Total petroleum hydrocarbons. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Chapter 7 Page 7-17 

TSP: Total Suspended Particulates - Any finely divided material (solid or liquid) that is airborne 
with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than a few hundred micrometers. 

TSS: Total Suspended Solids - As it applies to sediments in streams. 

Turbidity: Reduced water clarity resulting from the presence of suspended matter. 

u 

Unavoidable effects: Many effects which could occur from a project can be eliminated or 
minimized by management requirements and constraints and mitigation measures. 
Effects that cannot be eliminated are identified as unavoidable. 

Underground coal mine: A subterranean excavation made for the purpose of extracting 
mineable coal. 

USDA: United States Department of Agriculture. 

USDI: United states Department of the Interior. 

USFWS: United States Fish and Wildlife Service - United States Department of the Interior. 

USGS: United States Geological Survey - United States Department of the Interior. 

Understory: A foliage layer lying beneath and shaded by the main canopy of a forest. 

V 



w 

Watershed: the entire land area that contributes water to a particular drainage system or 
stream. 

Water quality: The interaction between various parameters that determines the usability or 
non-usability of water for on-site and downstream uses. Major parameters that affect 
water quality include: temperature, turbidity, suspended sediment, conductivity, 
dissolved oxygen, pH, specific ions, discharge, and fecal coliform. 

Weathering: The process whereby larger particles of soils and rock are reduced to finer 
particles by wind, water, temperature changes, and plant and bacteria action. 

Wetlands (Biological Wetlands): Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or 
groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal 
circumstances, do support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in 
saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, etc. 
(See "jurisdictional wetlands"). 

Wilderness: Land designated by Congress as a component of the National Wilderness 
Preservation System. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 7-18 Glossary September 1999 

Wind rose: A diagram showing the relative frequency of winds blowing from different 
directions. 



10-year, 24-hour event: The precipitation that is predicted to occur during a 24-hour period 
with a 10-year recurrence interval. 

25-year, 24-hour event: The precipitation that is predicted to occur during a 24-hour period 
with a 25-year recurrence interval. 

404 Permit: Section 404 of the Clean Water Act specifies that anyone wishing to place 

dredge or fill materials into the Waters on the United States and adjacent jurisdictional 
wetlands shall apply to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for approval. A permit issued 
by the Corps of Engineers for these activities is known as a 404 permit. 



Wort/7 Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 











Chapter 8 


1 ■ 




Index 






■ 
■ 



September 1999 Chapter 8 Page 8-1 

8.0 INDEX 



ADT: 3-166, 3-185, 3-186, 3-188-190, 3-192, 3-196, 3-197 

Average daily traffic (ADT): 3-167 

Bear Creek: 1-14, 2-17, 3-48, 3-60, 3-62, 3-65, 3-66, 3-69, 3-73, 3-79, 3-80, 3-83, 3-109, 3-111, 

3-113, 3-115, 3-129-131, 3-143, 3-152 
BLM: 1 -2-1 1,1-13,1-18,1-1 9, 2-2-4, 2-1 3, 2-1 4, 2-20-23, 2-26, 2-28, 2-29, 3-54, 3-81 , 3-82, 3- 

105, 3-112, 3-115, 3-118-120, 3-129, 3-134, 3-139, 3-141, 3-145, 3-146, 3-154, 3-180, 

3-181,3-183,3-184 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM): 1-2, 2-2, 
Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology (DMG): 1-6, 2-3, 3-50 
Crawford: 1-18, 3-184, 3-187, 3-201, 3-204, 3-205 
Cumulative impacts: 1-12, 1-15, 3-3, 3-9, 3-10, 3-15, 3-22, 3-26, 3-35, 3-46, 3-60, 3-122, 3-128, 

3-142, 3-150, 3-154, 3-196, 3-208 
Deertrail Ditch: 1-18, 2-8, 3-62, 3-63, 3-69, 3-73, 3-104 
Delta: 1-2, 1-3, 1-6, 1-10-14, 1-18, 2-8, 2-12, 2-13, 3-7, 3-9, 3-21, 3-23, 3-25, 3-28, 3-45, 3-116, 

3-121, 3-122, 3-156, 3-159, 3-184-188, 3-195, 3-196, 3-199-208, 3-210-212, 3-214 
DMG: 1-6-8, 1-11, 1-15-17, 2-3, 2-4, 2-6, 2-7, 2-11, 2-14, 2-21-24, 2-26, 2-28, 3-49, 3-54, 3-59, 

3-81 , 3-82, 3-1 1 2, 3-1 28, 3-1 49, 3-1 81 , 3-1 82, 3-1 84 
Elk Creek: 1-2-6, 1-9, 1-12, 1-14, 1-16-19, 2-2-4, 2-6, 2-9, 2-11-13, 2-16-22, 2-30, 3-9, 3-17, 3- 

23, 3-25, 3-46, 3-48, 3-49, 3-51 , 3-53, 3-58, 3-60-62, 3-65, 3-66, 3-69, 3-70, 3-73, 3-74, 

3-79-83, 3-85, 3-86, 3-95, 3-104-113, 3-123, 3-128, 3-129, 3-131, 3-139, 3-140, 3-143, 

3-149-151, 3-155, 3-165, 3-166, 3-183, 3-184, 3-189, 3-193, 3-196, 3-197, 3-203, 3- 

209,3-210,3-212-214 
EPA: 3-4, 3-5, 3-7, 3-22, 3-23, 3-43-45, 3-159, 3-203, 3-204 
Exploration: 1-2-12, 1-14, 1-15, 1-17-19, 2-2-4, 2-6, 2-13-15, 2-17-19, 2-21-26, 2-28, 3-3, 3-46, 

3-48, 3-50-53, 3-56-62, 3-65, 3-66, 3-70, 3-73, 3-74, 3-80, 3-82, 3-83, 3-85, 3-86, 3-95, 

3-1 05-1 1 0, 3-1 1 2, 3-1 1 3, 3-1 1 6, 3-1 1 9-1 23, 3-1 25, 3-1 26, 3-1 28, 3-1 29, 3-1 31 , 3-1 39, 

3-140, 3-142, 3-143, 3-145, 3-146, 3-149-156, 3-158, 3-160, 3-171, 3-181-185, 3-188, 

3-190,3-196,3-200,3-203 
Forest Service: 1-2-8, 1-10, 1-11, 1-13, 1-17-19, 2-2-4, 2-14, 2-20-23, 2-26, 2-28, 2-29, 3-25, 3- 

27, 3-54, 3-81 , 3-82, 3-111,3-112, 3-1 1 8-1 21 , 3-1 24, 3-1 28, 3-1 29, 3-1 32, 3-1 34, 3- 

138-141, 3-144, 3-146, 3-156, 3-157, 3-180, 3-181, 3-183, 3-207 
Groundwater: 2-14, 2-30, 3-79, 3-83-86, 3-95, 3-104-113, 3-123, 3-126, 3-151, 3-195 
Health and Safety: 1-13, 3-52 
Hotchkiss: 1-11, 1-13, 1-17, 1-18, 3-21, 3-24, 3-61, 3-83, 3-85, 3-86, 3-120, 3-159, 3-161-168, 

3-170, 3-172, 3-174-176, 3-178, 3-179, 3-183, 3-184, 3-186-188, 3-195, 3-199, 3-201, 

3-203-205 
Hubbard Creek: 1-14, 2-4, 2-13-15, 2-19, 2-29, 2-31, 3-48-51, 3-54, 3-55, 3-60, 3-62-64, 3-66, 

3-69, 3-70, 3-73, 3-79-83, 3-86, 3-95, 3-105, 3-106, 3-108, 3-109, 3-111-115, 3-120, 3- 

122, 3-123, 3-127-133, 3-136, 3-138-140, 3-142, 3-143, 3-145, 3-146, 3-149-154 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): 1-2, 2-2, 
NEPA: 1-2, 1-3, 1-6-8, 1-10, 1-11,2-2-4, 2-6, 3-82, 3-157 
Noise: 1-12, 1-13, 2-21, 2-29, 3-3, 3-159-168, 3-170-176, 3-178-181 , 3-198, 3-199, 3-208, 3- 

212,3-214,3-216 



North Fork Coal ♦ Environmental Impact Statement 



Page 8-2 Index September 1999 

North Fork of the Gunnison River: 1-2, 1-12, 1-14, 1-15, 1-17, 1-18, 2-9, 2-12, 2-13, 2-19, 2-20, 

3-7, 3-8, 3-23, 3-24, 3-35, 3-44-46, 3-48, 3-52, 3-53, 3-61-63, 3-65, 3-66, 3-69, 3-70, 3- 

73, 3-74, 3-79, 3-81 , 3-82, 3-84, 3-85, 3-95, 3-104, 3-106, 3-108, 3-109, 3-113, 3-131, 

3-136, 3-139-141, 3-143, 3-145-147, 3-149-154, 3-182, 3-183, 3-185, 3-186, 3-188, 3- 

198,3-207 
Office of Surface Mining: 1-2, 2-3, 

OSM: 1 -2, 1 -6-8, 1-11, 2-3, 2-4, 2-21 , 2-23, 2-26, 2-28, 3-1 1 2, 3-1 28, 3-1 49 
Paonia: 1-13, 1-15, 1-17, 1-18, 2-6, 2-7, 3-4, 3-5, 3-7, 3-8, 3-21. 3-24, 3-25, 3-45, 3-46, 3-51, 3- 

52, 3-55, 3-62, 3-84, 3-143, 3-159, 3-161-168, 3-172, 3-174-176, 3-179, 3-183, 3-184, 

3-186-188, 3-190, 3-191, 3-193-196, 3-199, 3-201, 3-204-206 
Railroad: 1-13-15, 1-18, 2-19, 2-20, 2-30, 3-4, 3-9, 3-23-25, 3-82, 3-141, 3-159-161, 3-174, 3- 

179, 3-181, 3-185-190, 3-193-200, 3-216 
Riparian Areas: 1-10,1 -1 4, 3-82, 3-1 07, 3-1 1 5, 3-1 23-1 29, 3-1 33, 3-1 34, 3-1 36, 3-1 38-1 40, 3- 

198 
Socioeconomic: 1-12, 2-24, 3-156, 3-200, 3-201, 3-205, 3-208-210, 3-212 
Somerset: 1-15-18, 2-9, 2-11,2-12, 3-4, 3-7, 3-9, 3-23-25, 3-51-53, 3-55, 3-61, 3-62, 3-80, 3- 

104, 3-106, 3-161, 3-164-166, 3-172, 3-186-188, 3-190, 3-193, 3-195, 3-196, 3-203-205 
Springs and seeps: 1-14, 3-60, 3-83-86, 3-95, 3-105, 3-107, 3-109, 3-112, 3-216 
State Highway: 133 1-14, 1-16, 1-17, 2-6-9, 2-12, 2-15, 2-20, 2-31, 3-4, 3-15, 3-45, 3-82, 3-131, 

3-139, 3-141, 3-152, 3-161, 3-165, 3-167, 3-171, 3-172, 3-180, 3-181, 3-185-191, 3- 

193,3-195-199 
State Highway: 50: 3-188, 3-195 
State Highway 92: 3-186, 3-188, 3-196 
Subsidence: 1-12-15, 2-4, 2-19-21, 2-29, 3-3, 3-46, 3-48-51 , 3-53-55, 3-57, 3-59-61 , 3-73, 3-74, 

3-79-83, 3-1 07-1 1 3, 3-1 21 -1 23, 3-1 25-1 30, 3-1 39, 3-1 41 , 3-1 42, 3-1 54, 3-1 58, 3-1 84, 3- 

185, 3-196, 3-209, 3-215, 3-216 
Surface water: 1-12, 14, 3-60-66, 3-69, 3-70, 3-73, 3-74, 3-79-83, 3-104-107, 3-109, 3-110, 3- 

113, 3-127, 3-133, 3-141, 3-142, 3-151-153, 3-195 
Terror Creek: 1-13-18, 2-3, 2-4, 2-12, 2-18, 2-19, 2-21, 2-29-31, 3-48, 3-50, 3-51, 3-53, 3-55, 3- 

60-66, 3-69, 3-70, 3-73, 3-79-83, 3-95, 3-1 06, 3-1 08, 3-1 09, 3-111, 3-1 1 2, 3-1 15,3-1 20, 

3-122, 3-128-133, 3-136, 3-138, 3-142, 3-143, 3-145, 3-146, 3-149, 3-150, 3-152, 3- 

154, 3-157, 3-162, 3-183, 3-185, 3-189, 3-193, 3-210 
Terror Creek Ditch: 1-17 
Terror Creek Reservoir: 1-13, 1-14, 1-17, 2-3, 2-21 , 2-29, 2-30, 3-48, 3-51 , 3-53, 3-55, 3-60, 3- 

61, 3-63, 3-70, 3-79, 3-80, 3-82, 3-106, 3-115, 3-122, 3-130, 3-133, 3-138, 3-143, 3- 

145,3-146 
Threatened and endangered species: 1-9, 3-129 
USDA Forest Service (Forest Service): 2-2, 
Vegetation: 1 -1 2, 1 -1 4, 2-31 , 3-58, 3-59, 3-1 1 3-1 1 5, 3-1 1 9-1 25, 3-1 27, 3-1 28, 3-1 30, 3-1 31 , 3- 

133, 3-139-141, 3-145, 3-146, 3-149, 3-215-217 
Water rights: 1-14, 2-8, 2-12, 3-60, 3-61, 3-70, 3-73, 3-74, 3-79, 3-81-83, 3-106, 3-107, 3-109, 

3-110 
Wetlands: 1-12, 1-14, 2-31, 3-115, 3-122-129, 3-133, 3-139, 3-140, 3-155, 3-199, 3-216 
Wildlife: 1-10-12, 1-14, 2-14, 2-20, 2-22, 2-24, 2-31, 3-3, 3-84, 3-107, 3-128-132, 3-135, 3-136, 

3-138-143, 3-145, 3-146, 3-150, 3-153-155, 3-184, 3-185, 3-195, 3-198, 3-199, 3- 

215-217 



North Fork Coal ♦ Environmental Impact Statement 



LIST OF APPENDICES 

Appendix No. Title 

A Lease Tract Information 

B Agency Jurisdictions (Permits and Approvals) 

C Unsuitability Analysis Report - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract (COC-61209) 

D Unsuitability Analysis Report - Elk Creek Tract (COC-61 385) 

E Mining Economics 

F Overview of Underground Coal Mining 

G Historical Coal Mining Activity 

H Standard BLM Coal Lease Terms, Conditions and Stipulations 

I Forest Service Stipulations - Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 

J Forest Service Stipulations - Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract 

K Subsidence Evaluation 

L Socioeconomic Report 



Appendix A 



Lease Tract Information 



September 1999 Appendix A PageA-1 

APPENDIX A 
LEASE TRACT INFORMATION 



ALTERNATIVE B 

In August of 1997, Bowie Resources, Ltd. (Bowie) filed coal lease application COC-61209 (Iron 
Point Tract) requesting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offer federal coal for 
competitive lease. The Application was for the following lands: 

T12S, R91W, 6 th PM: 

Section 33, lots 1 to 16, inclusive, S 1 / 2 N 1 / 2 ; 

Section 34, lots 1 to 16, inclusive, S 1 / 2 N 1 / 2 ; 
T13S, R91W, 6 th PM 

Section 2, SW% NW 1 A NW 1 A SWA, and E 1 / 2 SW 1 / 4 ; 

Section 3, lots 1 to 4, inclusive, S 1 / 2 N 1 / 2 , and N 1 / 2 S 1 / 2 ; 

Section 4, lots 1 to 4, inclusive, S 1 / 2 N 1 / 2 , and SV 2 ; 

Section 5, S 1 / 2 SE 1 /4, and SE% SWA; 

Section 8, NE 1 / 4 ; 

Section 9, NW 1 / 4 , and N 1 / 2 SW 1 / 4 ; 

Section 1 1 , NE% NW 1 / 4 . 

Containing approximately 3,403.27 acres±, with an estimated 24 million tons of recoverable 
coal or 7,050 tons per acre. The coal resource within the Iron Point Tract is limited to coal 
recoverable by underground mining methods. 

In December of 1997, Oxbow Mining Inc. filed coal lease application COC-61357 (Elk Creek 
Tract), requesting the BLM offer for competitive lease federal coal in the lands described as: 

T12S, R90W, 6 th PM: 

Section 31 , lots 1 to 14, inclusive, and NE 1 / 4 ; 

Section 32, lots 3 to 6, inclusive, lots 1 1 to 1 4, inclusive, and NW 1 / 4 . 
T12S, R91W, 6 th PM: 

Section 35, lots 1 , 2, and 4 to 8, inclusive, 13 to 16, inclusive, lots 21, 22, and 
that part of HES No. 134 lying in the NE%; 

Section 36, lots 1 to 17, inclusive, NE 1 / 4 , E 1 / 2 NW 1 / 4 , SW 1 / 4 NW 1 / 4 , and that part of 
HES No. 134 lying in lot 1. 
T13S, R90W, 6 th PM: 

Section 5, lots 7 to 10, inclusive; 

Section 6, lots 8 to 1 7, inclusive. 
T13S, R91W, 6 th PM: 

Section 1 , lots 1 to 4, inclusive, S 1 / 2 NW% and SW%; 

Section 2, lot 1 , and S 1 / 2 NE 1 / 4 ; 

Section 12, S 1 / 2 NE%, and NW 1 / 4 . 

Containing approximately 3,862.81 acres±, with approximately 21 million tons of recoverable 
coal or 5,436 tons per acre. The coal resource to be offered for lease is limited to coal 
recoverable by underground mining methods. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page A-2 Lease Tract Information September 1999 

In May of 1998, Bowie filed a coal exploration license application (COC-61945), with the BLM. 
The Iron Point Exploration License contains unleased coal deposits owned by the United States 
of America in the following described lands in Delta County, Colorado. 

T12S, R91W, 6 th PM: 

Section 14, lots 7, 8, S 1 / 2 S 1 / 2 , NE% SW 1 / 4 , NW 1 A SE%; 

Section 22, SV 2 ; 

Section 23, lots 1 to 7, inclusive, W 1 / 2 , and that part of HES No. 133 lying in the 

S 1 / 2 SE 1 / 4 ; 
Section 26, lots 1 to 5, inclusive, W 1 / 2> N1/2SE 1 A and that part of HES No. 133 

lying in the NE 1 A; 
Section 27, all; 
Section 28, SVfe; 
Section 29, SE%; 

Section 32, lots 1, 2, 7 to 10, inclusive, lots 15, 16, and NE 1 / 4 ; 
Section 33, lots 1 to 16, inclusive, and N 1 / 2 ; 
Section 34, lots 1 to 1 6, inclusive, and N 1 / 2 ; 
Section 35, lots 3, and 7 to 22, inclusive, NE 1 / 4 NW 1 A, W 1 / 2 NW 1 / 4 , that part of 

HES No. 134 and that part of lots 4 to 6, inclusive, Iving in the SV 2 S 1 / 2 

NE%. 

Containing approximately 6,053.00 acres±. 

These applications encompass federal coal on BLM and Gunnison National Forest lands. 
Additions and/or deletions to the delineated tracts may be considered as alternatives to 
Alternative B. Alternatives would be developed and analyzed based on issues and 
management needs. 

ALTERNATIVE C 

Add to the Iron Point Tract the following description: 

T13S, R91W, 6 th PM 

Section 5, lots 11,12, SW 1 / 4 NE%, SE% NW 1 / 4 , NE% SW 1 / 4 , N 1 / 2 SE% containing 
approximately 240 acres. It is estimated that there are 1 1 ,750 tons of 
recoverable coal per acre (42.8 million tons). 

Add to the Elk Creek Tract the following description: 

T12S, R91W, 6 th PM: 

Section 35, lots 3, 9 to 12, inclusive, lots 17 to 20, inclusive, N 1 / 2 NW 1 / 4 , and 
SWV 4 NW 1 / 4 . 

Containing approximately 433.78 acres. It is estimated that there are 5,375 tons of recoverable 
coal per acre (23.1 million tons). 

ALTERNATIVE D 

The acreage for both the Iron Point and Elk Creek Tracts remains the same as Alternative C. It 
is estimated that there are 1 1 ,225 tons of recoverable coal per acre (40.9 million tons) on the 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix A PageA-3 

Iron Point Tract and 5,375 tons of recoverable coal per acre (23.1 million tons) on the Elk Creek 
Tract. 

SURFACE OWNERSHIP 

The surface ownership of the lands is shown on Figure 2, Surface Ownership Map. All the 
acreage described above contains federally managed minerals. Approximately 1 ,714 acres are 
privately owned surface, 6,842 acres are managed by the Forest Service, and 3,090 acres are 
managed by the BLM. 









Appendix B | 




Agency Jurisdiction 
(Permits and Approvals) 







September 1999 Appendix B 



Page B-i 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Page No. 



1 .0 BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT B _1 

1.1 Competitive Coal Leasing .B-1 

1 .2 Exploration License 3.3 

1 .3 Resource Recovery and Protection Plans (R2P2 B-3 

2.0 FOREST SERVICE JURISDICTION 5.3 

3.0 OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING JURISDICTIONS B-4 

4.0 MINERALS MANAGEMENT SERVICE B-5 

5.0 U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS B-6 

6.0 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY B-6 

6.1 Clean Water Act .......... B-7 

6.2 Clean Air Act " B-7 

7.0 U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE B-8 

8.0 U.S. MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION B-8 

9.0 TREASURY DEPARTMENT (DEPARTMENT OF ALCOHOL, 

TOBACCO AND FIREARMS) B _ 8 

10.0 ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HISTORIC PRESERVATION B-8 

1 1 .0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF MINERALS AND GEOLOGY B-8 

1 2.0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND 

ENVIRONMENT AIR POLLUTION CONTROL DIVISION B-9 

1 2.1 Permit to Construct B-9 

1 2.2 Permit to Operate ' B_ 9 

1 2.3 Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) B-9 

13.0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND 

ENVIRONMENT - WATER QUALITY CONTROL DIVISION B-10 

14.0 COLORADO STATE ENGINEER'S OFFICE B-10 

14.1 Dam Safety Permit B-10 

14.2 Permit to Appropriate Public Waters B-1 1 

15.0 COLORADO STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE B-1 1 

16.0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION B-1 2 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page B-ii Agency Jurisdictions September 1999 

17.0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL AFFAIRS B-12 

18.0 DELTA COUNTY B-12 

19.0 GUNNISON COUNTY B-12 

17.0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL AFFAIRS B-12 

18.0 DELTA COUNTY B-12 

19.0 GUNNISON COUNTY B-12 



LIST OF TABLES 

Table No. Title Page No. 
B-1 List of Permits and Approvals B-2 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix B 



Page B-1 



APPENDIX B 

AGENCY JURISDICTIONS 

(PERMITS AND APPROVALS) 

A number of federal, state, and local permits and approvals are or could be required for the 
exploration and mining of the Iron Point and Elk Creek Tracts. See Table B-1, List of Permits 
and Approvals. Many of the listed permits are required at the mine permit stage not the leasing 
stage. They are included here to give the reader a more complete picture of the coal permitting 
process. 

Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the actual permitting processes 
are related but distinctively separate. An EIS is designed to explore alternatives and discuss 
environmental impacts. The permitting or approval processes give individual government 
decision makers the authority to grant, conditionally grant, or deny individual permit 
applications. Permits may be granted with requirements and conditions to eliminate and/or 
mitigate specific adverse impacts pursuant to their individual regulations and guidelines. 

1.0 BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

For the North Fork Coal EIS, the BLM is serving as a joint lead agency in the EIS process with 
the Forest Service. The BLM will follow a specific procedure that began with scoping and data 
collection which will result in the assessment and analysis of alternatives. The results of the 
environmental analyses are documented in the EIS and will form the basis for the Colorado 
State Director of the BLM in making a decision on leasing and exploration. 

The BLM responsibilities include the following: 

► Competitive coal leasing; 

► Resource recovery and protection plans; and, 

► Special use permits. 

1.1 Competitive Coal Leasing 

In response to the competitive coal lease applications, or LBAs, submitted by Bowie for the Iron 
Point Tract (COC-61 209) and by Oxbow for the Elk Creek Tract (COC-61 385), the BLM will 
process these coal lease applications in accordance with the regulations found at 43 CFR 3420. 
In conjunction with the Forest Service, the BLM will prepare an EIS to analyze potential impacts 
of the proposed leasing and reasonably foreseeable mining actions, as well as develop 
mitigating measures to be included as lease stipulations in the event a competitive sale is held. 

The BLM will conduct a public hearing before a competitive sale is held to allow public comment 
on the effects of mining on the proposed lease. The BLM must also evaluate lease proposals 
with respect to coal unsuitability criteria developed by the Department of the Interior. This 
evaluation has been completed in conjunction with the BLM-Uncompahgre Basin Resource 
Management Plan (1 989) and the Forest Service Land and Resource Management Plan for the 
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, as amended (September 1991). 
The criteria has also been reviewed for implications with the other alternatives in this analysis. 
In addition, data adequacy standards were reviewed and determined to be adequate. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page B-2 



Agency Jurisdictions 



September 1999 



Table B-1 
List of Permits and Approvals 


Federal Government 


Bureau of Land Management 


► Lease Issuance and Administration 

► Mine Permit Concurrence 

► Resource Recovery and Protection Plans (R2P2) Approval 

► Special Use Permits (right-of-ways, etc.) 

► Approve Exploration License 


Forest Service 


► Consent to Lease 

► Mine Permit Consent/Concurrence 

► Special Use Permits (road use) 

► Consent and Prescribe Use for Exploration License 


Office of Surface Mining 


► Mine Permit Approval (Mineral Leasing Act) 


U.S. Department of the Interior 


► Mining Permit Plan Approval (Mineral Leasing Act 


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 


► Section 404 Permit 


Environmental Protection Agency 


► Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan 

•■ Review of Section 404 Permit 

- Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity 


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 


► Threatened and Endangered Species Consultation 


Treasury Department (Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and 
Firearms) 


► Explosives User Permit 


Mine Safety and Health Administration 


► Mine Identification Number 

► Legal Identify Report 

► Miner Training Plan Approval 

► Ventilation Plan Approval 

► Ground Control Plan 


State of Colorado 


Colorado Department of Minerals and Geology 


► Exploration Permit 

► Mining and Reclamation Permit 


Colorado Air Pollution Control Division 


► Permit to Construct 

► Permit to Operate 


Colorado Water Quality Control Division 


► Storm Water Discharge Permit 

► National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) 


Colorado State Engineer 


► Water Rights 

► Water Well Permits 

► Dam Safety Permits 


Colorado State Historic Preservation Office 


► Historic and Archaeological Review 


Colorado Department of Transportation 


► Highway Access 


Local Government 


Delta County 


► Building Permit 


Gunnison County 


>■ Land Use Change Permit 
► Building Permit 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix B 



Page B-3 



Following the completion of the EIS, the Montrose District Office of the BLM will forward the 
competitive lease application, the North Fork Coal EIS, a Maximum Economic Recovery report 
(MER), a proposed Record of Decision, proposed lease terms and conditions, and preliminary 
recommendations for each lease tract to the Colorado State Director of the BLM in Denver 
The Colorado State Director will make a determination on leasing action, the proposed lease 
terms and conditions, and the bonding requirements. The Colorado State Director will then 
prepare newspaper and Federal Register notices of the sale and post such notices of the 
proposed sales in the Public Room at the state office of the BLM. A sales panel consisting of 
the Deputy State Director for Mineral Resources, a BLM mining engineer, a BLM geologist, and 
a BLM mineral economist will then be designated as the group that will analyze prospective 
bidders and make recommendations regarding bids received at the proposed lease sale. 

1.2 Exploration License 

An exploration license is processed in much the same way as a lease application. The BLM will 
process Bowie's Iron Point Exploration License application, COC-61945 in accordance with the 
regulations in 43 CFR 3400. In conjunction with the Forest Service, the BLM will use this EIS to 
analyze potential impacts and develop mitigating measures to be included as stipulations in the 
event a license is issued. 

Following the completion of the EIS, the Uncompahgre Field Office of the BLM will forward 
preliminary recommendations and any proposed terms and conditions to the Colorado State 
Director in Denver. The Colorado State Director will then make a determination, consistent with 
the Forest Service's recommendations under the consent provisions (see Section 2.0, Forest 
Service), on the issuance of the exploration license. 

1.3 Resource Recovery and Protection Plans (R2P2) 

If a lease is issued, prior to any lease development, the lessee or operator must file a Resource 
Recovery and Protection Plan (R2P2) with the BLM to comply with 43 CFR 3482. This plan 
contains detailed information regarding the coal seams within the lease boundaries and 
requires the lessee and/or the operator to submit detailed mining plans regarding the coal to be 
mined. It is the responsibility of the BLM to ensure that the coal resources within the lease will 
be appropriately mined such that maximum coal recovery can be achieved. The purpose of the 
R2P2 is to ensure that the federal government receives the maximum royalties from the 
resource within the lease boundaries, and that the recovery of the coal resource is 
accomplished so as to minimize the loss of any coal resource for future extraction. 

1.4 Special Use Permits 

On public lands administered by the BLM, the agency has review and approval authority for any 
project related right-of-ways such as access roads. The BLM will be responsible for issuing 
special use permits for these type of activities. 

2.0 FOREST SERVICE JURISDICTION 

For the North Fork Coal EIS, the Forest Service is serving as a joint lead agency in the EIS 
process with the BLM. With this responsibility, the Forest Service will work with the BLM 
throughout the EIS process. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page B-4 Agency Jurisdictions September 1999 

The Forest Service was granted consent authority with regard to the issuance of coal leases 
and licenses with the passage of the Federal Coal Leasing Amendment Act of 1976. Under this 
act, a coal lease or license may not be issued without consent of the surface managing agency, 
(i.e., the Forest Service in the case of the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts) , and not 
without including conditions (stipulations) upon which consent is given. Under 43 CFR 3420.4- 
2(a) it is stated: 

The Secretary of the Interior, for any proposed lease tract containing lands the 
surface of which is under the jurisdiction of any agency other than the 
department (of the interior), shall request that that agency: (1) consent, if it has 
not already done so, to the issuance of the lease (43 CFR 3400.3-1), and (2) if it 
consents, prescribe the terms and conditions the Secretary will impose in any 
lease which the head of the agency requires for the use and protection of non- 
mineral interests in those lands. 

Under the Forest Service Manual Chapter 2820, R2 supplement No. 2800-94-1, 2822.04(c), the 
Regional Forester of the Rocky Mountain Region has delegated the authority to sign all decision 
documents for mineral leases (consent to leases) to the Forest Supervisor. In the case of the 
North Fork Coal EIS, the Forest Supervisor of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison 
National Forests will be the responsible official for any decisions regarding the Iron Point Coal 
Lease Tract, the Elk Creek Coal Lease Tract, and the exploration license area within and 
surrounding the Iron Point Tract. 

Regarding any specific ground disturbing activities on forest lands, the Forest Service is 
responsible for the oversight of such activities, and the agency may require a reclamation 
performance security (i.e., reclamation bond), prior to allowing any ground disturbing activities 
on forest lands. 

Similar to the BLM, on any public lands administered by the Forest Service, the agency has 
review and approval authority for any project related right-of-ways, access roads, dam or dike 
construction, etc. In these instances, the Forest Service would require a Special Use Permit 
from the lessee or the operator on Forest Service administered lands. 

3.0 OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING JURISDICTIONS 

The OSM is a cooperating agency with the BLM and the Forest Service on the North Fork Coal 
EIS. As such, OSM has provided input into the North Fork Coal EIS process. 

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), gives OSM primary responsibility 
to administer programs that regulate surface coal mining operations on federal lands and the 
surface effects of underground coal mining operations on federal lands. 

Pursuant to Section 503 of SMCRA, the Colorado DMG developed, and the Secretary of the 
Department of the Interior approved, a permanent program authorizing the Colorado DMG to 
regulate surface coal mining operations and surface effects of underground coal mining on non- 
federal lands within the state of Colorado. In September of 1982, pursuant to Section 523(c) of 
SMCRA, the Colorado DMG entered into a cooperative agreement with the Secretary of the 
Department of the Interior authorizing the Colorado DMG to regulate surface coal mining 
operations and the surface effects of underground mining on federal lands within the state of 
Colorado. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix B 



Page B-5 



Pursuant to that cooperative agreement, federal coal lease holders in Colorado must submit 
permit applications to both the OSM and the Colorado DMG for proposed mining and 
reclamation operations on lands in the state of Colorado. The Colorado DMG will review the 
permit application packages to ensure that the permit application complies with their permitting 
requirements and that the coal mining operation will meet the approved permanent regulatory 
program's performance standards. If the permit application package complies with the 
applicable regulations and performance standards, the Colorado DMG will issue the lessee or 
operator a permit to conduct coal mining and reclamation operations on the subject lease. 

The public has the opportunity to provide comments to the Colorado DMG and request an 
informal conference or a public hearing on each permit application package. These 
opportunities for comment are published as legal notices in a local newspaper of general 
circulation. 

The OSM, Forest Service, BLM, and other appropriate federal agencies will review the permit 
application package to ensure that it complies with the terms of the coal lease, the requirements 
of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 ("MLA"), the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
("NEPA"), and other federal laws and their attendant regulations. 

The OSM will recommend approval, approval with conditions, or disapproval of any MLA mining 
and reclamation plan involving federal coal to the Assistant Secretary of the Department of the 
Interior - Lands and Minerals Management. Before the mining plan can be approved, the BLM, 
Forest Service and a surface-managing agency, if other than the BLM or Forest Service, must ' 
concur with this recommendation. 

The Colorado DMG enforces the performance standards and permit requirements during the 
operation of the mine and have primary authority in environmental emergencies. The OSM 
retains oversight responsibility for this enforcement. The BLM has authority in those 
emergency situations where the Colorado DMG or OSM inspectors can not act before 
environmental harm or damage occurs. 

The information and data submitted in the coal lease applications by Bowie and Oxbow do not 
constitute a formal underground mining permit application package to either the OSM or the 
Colorado DMG. This coal lease application information has been used solely to develop an 
impact analysis in the EIS. Its use is intended to illustrate one possible plan for developing 
federal coal reserves on the lease tracts and does not imply that either Bowie or Oxbow would 
be given any preference in the event that lease sales are held. In addition, such information 
does not imply that the permit application package developed from these preliminary plans 
would comply with the regulations or be approved by the Colorado DMG if a lease sale were 
held and Bowie or Oxbow obtained the respective lease tracts for which they are applying. Any 
plan which is ultimately submitted must comply with the regulations of the Colorado DMG and 
the OSM before such plan can be approved. 

4.0 MINERALS MANAGEMENT SERVICE 

The Minerals Management Service has no permitting responsibilities associated with coal 
mining. However, this organization is an important government agency with its primary function 
focused at collecting royalties from the mining of coal on federal lands. The Mineral 
Management Service regularly works with the BLM regarding mining on federal coal lease 
tracts and reviews mine maps and other documentation in order to assess the coal tonnages 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page B-6 Agency Jurisdictions September 1999 

extracted from the federal coal lease. In addition, the Mineral Management Service will review 
coal sales records of the lessee or operator to ensure that the federal government receives the 
appropriate royalty amount from the extracted federal coal. For surface mines, the royalty for 
federal coal is 12.5% of the sales price of the coal at the mine site; for underground coal mining 
operations the royalty is 8% of the sales price at the mine site. 

5.0 U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS 

The Corps of Engineers is responsible for issuing permits under Section 404 of the Clean Water 
Act which requires permits for the "discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters." 
Guidelines promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Section 
404(b)(1) generally prohibit the discharge of dredged or fill materials into "Waters of the United 
States" unless it can be shown that the discharge is the least environmentally damaging 
practicable alternative to achieve the basic purpose of the proposed project. 

The term "Waters of the United States" is broadly defined as waters that are or could be used in 
interstate or foreign commerce. In addition to territorial seas and interstate waters, this includes 
other waters such as lakes, mud flats, sloughs, and wetlands which are or could be used in 
interstate or foreign commerce. To the degree that they impact "Waters of the United States," 
various activities associated with mining operations, such as road or bridge construction, mine 
portal site development and construction, construction of water storage dams, etc., may require 
a Section 404 Permit. 

The Corps of Engineers must comply with Executive Orders 1 1990 and 1 1998 with respect to 
impacts to the nations wetlands and/or floodplains. The "no net loss" wetlands policy is outlined 
in an agreement between Corps of Engineers and the EPA. The policy goal of the no net loss 
to wetland acreage or function is implemented primarily through permit review. 

In reviewing Section 404 permit applications, the Corps of Engineers must evaluate whether the 
benefits from the project outweigh the predicted environmental impacts. This is called a "public 
interest review." Factors considered during the public interest review include the following: 

► Basic project purpose and need; 
- Water dependency; 

► Availability of practicable alternatives, taking into consideration cost, logistics, and 
technology; and, 

»> Environmental impacts. 

The Corps of Engineers evaluates whether the proposal is the least environmentally damaging 
practicable alternative. It may be necessary for the applicant to include mitigation measures 
that will reduce impacts to the aquatic environment to an acceptable level. These measures 
may include avoiding fills to "Waters of the United States", reducing the area of fill, creating or 
restoring aquatic environments, and/or enhancing the value of an existing aquatic area. 

6.0 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 

NEPA documents, such as the draft EIS, the final EIS, and Records of Decision completed by 
the BLM and Forest Service for the lease tracts regarding the North Fork Coal EIS, will be filed 
with the EPA. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix B 



Page B-7 



In addition to its NEPA oversight responsibilities, the EPA has responsibilities involved with the 
following: 

► Clean Water Act; and 

► Clean Air Act. 

6.1 Clean Water Act 

The Clean Water Act has established the following surface water programs which may concern 
mining operations of either Bowie or Oxbow in the Iron Point and Elk Creek Coal Lease Tracts: 

*■ The NPDES permit program regulating the point source and storm water discharge 
of pollutants; 

► The Section 404 permit program regulating the discharge of dredged or fill material; 
and, 

► The Section 31 1 program regulating spills of oil and hazardous substances. 

EPA established the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program for 
regulating surface water quality. This program was principally established by the Federal Water 
Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 and supplement amendments and re-authorization. 
In its amended and re-authorized form, this statute as a whole is now generally referred to as 
the Clean Water Act. 

The NPDES permit program is established by Section 402 of the Clean Water Act. The 
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is the permitting authority in the state 
of Colorado for the issuance of NPDES permits pursuant to Section 402 of the Clean Water Act. 

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act authorizes the Corps of Engineers to issue permits "for the 
discharge of dredged or fill materials into navigable waters." These permits are addressed 
under 14.5, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Responsibilities, which immediately proceeds this 
discussion. The EPA is responsible for reviewing the consistency of any proposed 404 action 
with Section 404(b)(1) guidelines. 

Section 31 1 of the Clean Water Act establishes requirements relating to discharges or spills of 
oil or hazardous substances. Discharges or spills of oil in "harmful quantities" are prohibited. 
The EPA has established a requirement for the preparation of a Spill Prevention Control and 
Countermeasure (SPCC) plan by facilities that handle substantial quantities of oil. 

6.2 Clean Air Act 

In addition to water quality oversight, the EPA also maintains control over the air resources of 
an area as outlined in the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act's most basic goals are to protect 
public health and welfare. The EPA can comment on, but is not responsible for, a new source 
(air quality) construction permit issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and 
Environment. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page B-8 Agency Jurisdictions September 1999 

7.0 U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers the Endangered Species Act, as re-enacted in 
1982, and the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, as amended. On the North Fork Coal EIS, 
the BLM and Forest Service consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding any 
federally listed threatened or endangered species that might be impacted by proposed 
operations. This is known as the Section 7 Consultation. A biological assessment (BA) has 
been prepared by the BLM and Forest Service for any federally listed threatened or endangered 
species, and this document has been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If 
adverse impacts to threatened or endangered species are projected, specific design measures 
to protect the affected species may need to be developed. 

8.0 U.S. MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION 

The health and safety aspects of Bowie and Oxbow operations are regulated by federal health 
and safety standards for mining operations. MSHA makes comprehensive routine inspections 
of the underground coal mining operations and are involved in educational and safety training 
programs for company personnel. Underground coal mining operators are also responsible for 
providing MSHA with reports of accidents, injuries, occupational diseases and related data. 
Specific programs for the education and training of all underground coal mining employees are 
also a part of the health and safety regulations of MSHA. MSHA also reviews and approves 
ventilation plans and ground control plans for underground coal mines. 

9.0 TREASURY DEPARTMENT (DEPARTMENT OF ALCOHOL, 
TOBACCO AND FIREARMS) 

Intrerstate transportation of explosives is regulated by the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and 
Firearms. Underground coal mining operators or their explosives suppliers will need to obtain a 
license for transport of such explosives to the site. In addition, an explosive user permit will 
also be required by this agency. 

10.0 ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HISTORIC PRESERVATION 

A copy of both the Draft EIS and Final EIS documents must be filed with the Advisory Council 
on Historic Preservation. This agency works in an advisory role to assist the BLM and Forest 
Service with compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and the American Indian 
Religious Freedom Act. In addition, the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office will give 
concurrence with any agency determined cultural impacts. The Advisory Council on Historic 
Preservation would be available to serve in an advisory role if requested by the Colorado 
agency. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation may also review state program 
activities and determine relative compliance to the previously mentioned National Historic 
Preservation Act. 

1 1 .0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF MINERALS AND GEOLOGY 

Under the Colorado Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Act (34-33-101 et. seq., CRS 1973, as 
amended) and the regulations of the Coal Mined Land Reclamation Board for coal mining 
(1980, amended), the Colorado DMG requires a permit to regulate surface coal mining activities 
and the surface effects of underground coal mining. The purpose of this permitting program is 
to ensure the disturbed areas are reclaimed and environmental protection is ensured for coal 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page B-9 



September 1999 Appendix B 

mining activities within the state of Colorado. Performance security for reclamation activities is 
required before this permit is granted. 

The Colorado DMG requires engineering information for coal mining operations including 
topographic maps, sequence of mining, coal waste disposal sites, borrow sites, construction 
methods, equipment to be used, plans for mitigation of runoff and erosion, sediment control 
measures, and the proposed methods and schedule of reclamation. Environmental information 
includes soil characterization and topsoil management, erosion control measures, reclamation 
and revegetation plans and methods to protect ground and surface water quality. 

In addition, the Colorado DMG has permitting requirements for coal exploration activities. Such 
permitting activities require a description of the planned exploration, the methods and schedule 
for reclamation and environmental protection measures to be employed during exploration. 

12.0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND 
ENVIRONMENT AIR POLLUTION CONTROL DIVISION 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment - Air Pollution Control Division has 
review and approval authority over new source construction or additions or modifications to 
existing sources for releasing contaminants into the air. The Air Pollution Control Division has 
regulatory responsibility for the following permits which may affect mining operations: 

*■ Permit to Construct; 

► Permit to Operate; and, 

«■ Prevention of Significant Deterioration. 

12.1 Permit to Construct 

This permit requires the applicant to submit an emissions inventory listing sources and amounts 
of air pollution released, an analysis of best available control technology (BACT), and a 
demonstration that ambient air quality standards, including levels for toxic air pollutants will not 
be exceeded. The statutory authority for new source construction approval is the Colorado 
Clean Air Act and subsequent regulations. 

12.2 Permit to Operate 

The Colorado Air Pollution Control Division has a comprehensive air operating permit program 
which is consistent with the requirements of Title V of the Federal Clean Air Act. Facilities will 
be required to obtain operating permits within six months of the issuance of initiation of 
construction activities. 

12.3 Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) 

The basic objective of the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) air quality program is to 
prevent substantial degradation of air quality in areas that are in compliance with national 
ambient air quality standards, while maintaining a margin for future growth. As part of the new 
source review, PSD applicability is determined. 

Criteria that trigger the requirements for a PSD permit vary depending on the type of facility. In 
the case of mining, a PSD permit is not required for operations that emit less than 250 tons per 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page B-10 Agency Jurisdictions September 1999 

year of any pollutant regulated under the Federal Clean Air Act. Pollutants can include both 
particulate (dust) and gaseous SO2, CO2, NOx and HC emissions. 

Specific information on PSD requirements can be found in 40 CFR 52.221 as adopted. If a 
PSD permit is required, one year of site-specific ambient air quality data collected by the 
applicant is typically needed. 

1 3.0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND 
ENVIRONMENT - WATER QUALITY CONTROL DIVISION 

Under authority delegated by the EPA, the Colorado Department of Public Health and 
Environment - Water Quality Control Division regulates the discharge of pollutants into 
Colorado's surface waters through the NPDES permit (see Section 1 4.6.1 , Clean Water Act, of 
this document). 

An application for an individual NPDES permit requires information on water supply volumes, 
water utilization, waste water flow characteristics and disposal methods, planned 
improvements, storm water treatment, plant operation, materials and chemical used, 
production, and other related information. Depending on the type of materials to be mined, the 
EPA regulations may specify effluent limitations for inclusion in an NPDES permit for the 
discharge of waste waters and storm water. Mines for which EPA has not promulgated storm 
water effluent limits are required to obtain coverage under a general storm water permit issued 
by the Colorado Water Quality Control Division. Processing time for an individual NPDES 
permit ranges from about 180 days to 1 year, but varies upon project complexity. A public 
hearing on a proposed NPDES permit may be required. 

14.0 COLORADO STATE ENGINEER'S OFFICE 

The Colorado State Engineer has oversight responsibility for the following permits: 

► Dam Safety Permit; and, 

► Permit to Appropriate Public Waters. 

14.1 Dam Safety Permit 

The Colorado State Engineer requires approval for any person or entity intending to construct, 
modify, or repair any dam or control works for a dam or dike that will store water to a depth of 
10 or more feet at its deepest point or a dam or dike that will contain 10 or more acre-feet of 
water. Reservoir applications require information on the use and capacity of the reservoir and a 
legal description of the location of the structure. 

Before beginning any construction, plans and specifications must be prepared by a properly 
qualified Colorado state certified professional engineer (carrying the engineer's signature and 
seal) and submitted for approval to the Colorado State Engineer. Plan approval is required 
before beginning construction. 

The Colorado State Engineer's office is also required to periodically inspect the construction 
and operation of any dams in order to secure safety to life and property. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix B Pa ge e . n 

1 4.2 Permit to Appropriate Public Waters 

Authority to use public water is granted through issuance of a permit to appropriate public 
waters from the Colorado State Engineer's office. 

A permit is required prior to the development of any diversion of surface water and/or 
withdrawal of groundwater. 

A public notice is required prior to obtaining a permit to appropriate public waters A 30 day 
comment period is provided after public notice. The Colorado State Engineer evaluates the 
application and any objections which were filed in response to the public notice with particular 
attention to the following questions: 

► Is water available to satisfy the applicants needs? 

* Would the appropriation of water impair the senior rights or injure the instream 
values of the water source? 

► Does the applicant propose a beneficial use of water? 

► Would the appropriation be detrimental to the public interest? 

Permits may be issued which may authorize water use for a limited period of time (a temporary 
permit). In addition, changes to existing water rights must be reviewed and approved (i.e., point 
of withdrawal, changes in use, etc.). 

Any permit issued must be specific as to the following: 

- Water quantities to be appropriated, instantaneous and annual; 

► The period of use; 

► The point from which the water may be obtained; 

► The purpose for which the water may be used; and, 

► The place of use. 

Provisions and limitations specific to the proposed water use and a development schedule for 
completing the project are normally associated with the permit. A permit only authorizes 
development of a project and does not represent the extent of a final water right. To the extent 
that water is beneficially used within the limitations of a "regular" permit, a certificate of a water 
right may be issued documenting a perfected water right. The processing time of a water right 
varies but can take up to 1 8 months. Public notice is required for water right applications. 

15.0 COLORADO STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE 

The Colorado State Historic Preservation Office must be contacted prior to the start of a project 
to determine if historic and archaeological sites will be affected. The status of any sites or 
structures listed in or eligible for National Register of Historic Places or local landmark 
designation will need to be determined. Plans for protection or mitigation measures may be a 
condition of concurrence with agency determined cultural impacts. 

The Colorado State Historic Preservation Office also must be consulted when projects are 
subject to review under Section 1 06 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1 966. This act 
requires that all federal agencies take into account the effect of their actions on historic 
properties. The Colorado State Historic Preservation Office should be consulted to determine if 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page B-12 Agency Jurisdictions September 1999 

the site has been surveyed, if there are identified historic resources on site, and if the property 
is listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. If the project will 
adversely affect property that meets the National Historic Register criteria, the Colorado State 
Historic Preservation Office will recommend ways to avoid or mitigate that adverse affect. 

1 6.0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION 

The Colorado Department of Transportation is responsible for compliance with Colorado state 
requirements for road design and construction. This agency's responsibilities in the case of the 
North Fork Coal EIS will probably be limited to review and approval of applications for any 
upgraded road access permits. The Colorado Department of Transportation also monitors 
traffic loads on highways to ensure that proper maintenance is completed and that any future 
highway expansions to handle traffic are budgeted. 

17.0 COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL AFFAIRS 

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs does not have any regulatory authority; however, this 
group is responsible for distribution of energy impact tax funds and revenues received as part of 
the reimbursement of federal royalties from coal mining to the states. Responsibilities of this 
agency are to review the needs of energy impacted counties within the state and distribute 
funds for various projects that alleviate the economic impacts of such development. The 
Colorado Department of Local Affairs considers applications for funding from counties and 
communities. 

18.0 DELTA COUNTY 

Delta County has no zoning requirements. 

Delta County does require permits to construct permanent buildings. The applications for 
building permits require detailed plans for structures including electrical plans, plumbing plans, 
floor layout, sewage facilities, location of wells (if applicable), drainage plans, size and shape of 
the buildings, access, size and shape of the foundation walls, beams, air vents, window access, 
and heating and cooling mechanical aspects. Permits are issued upon approval of the plans. 
The county may inspect the buildings during construction. 

19.0 GUNNISON COUNTY 

Gunnison County has zoning requirements which are overseen by the Gunnison County 
Planning Department Special Use permits for activities in the county must be obtained prior to 
construction. 

Gunnison County also has building permit requirements similar to Delta County. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Appendix C 



Unsuitability Analysis Report 
Iron Point Coal Lease Tract 




September 1999 Appendix C Page C-1 

APPENDIX C 

UNSUITABILITY ANALYSIS REPORT 

IRON POINT COAL LEAST TRACT 

(COC-61209) 



NOTE: See Figure C/D-1, Coal Unsuitability Criteria Locations. This figure is included with the 
second volume of the EIS. 

DESCRIPTION OF THE FEDERAL LANDS INVOLVED 

This unsuitability analysis has been prepared for the Iron Point Tract, a 3,404.28 acre tract of 
federal coal lands described as: 

T12S, R91W, 6 th Principal Meridian, 

Section 33, Lots 1 to 16, inclusive, and SV2NV2; 776.00 acres 

Section 34, Lots 1 to 16, inclusive, and SV2NV2; 782.20 acres 

T13S, R91W, 6 th Principal Meridian, 

Section 2, SWAMWA, UWASWA, EVfeSWVi; 160.00 acres 

Section 3, Lots 1 to 4, inclusive, SVfeNVfc and NV2SV2; 483.04 acres 

Section 4, Lots 1 to 4, inclusive, S 1 /2N 1 / 2 and SVfc; 643.04 acres 

Section 5, S 1 / 2 SE 1 /4, SE 1 ASW 1 /4; 1 20.00 acres 

Section 8, NE 1 / 4 ; 160.00 acres 

Section 9, NW 1 A NVaSWVi; 240.00 acres 

Section 1 1 , NEViNWVi; 1 20.00 acres 

This tract was identified as a result of a coal lease application submitted by Bowie Resources, 
Ltd. (Bowie) in August 1 977. The tract lies approximately 4 miles east of the town of Somerset 
in Delta County, Colorado. Approximately 2,801 acres are federal surface and federal minerals. 
The USDA Forest Service (Forest Service) manages the surface of 1 ,558 acres and the Bureau 
of Land Management (BLM) manages 1 ,243 acres. The remainder of the surface (602 acres) 
is owned by Bowie and William G. Hughes, Pat A. Hughes and Brian C. Hughes; the mineral 
estate is federally owned. The tract lies adjacent to two existing producing coal mines. 

As a first step in this analysis, the preliminary mining plan submitted by the applicant was 
examined in order to identify areas in which the proposed underground mining operation would 
produce surface effects. All of the areas on which surface facilities associated with the 
proposed operation were to be located and all the areas identified as likely to be affected by 
subsidence were delineated as having surface effects. 

The unsuitability criteria were then applied individually to the areas identified as having surface 
effects. Each criterion was applied individually and maps were developed showing the 
applicability of the criterion. Then after all criteria had been applied, the exceptions of each 
criterion found to be applicable were then examined to determine if the exceptions were also 
applicable. 

Finally, after the process had been completed, a summary, stating the conclusions of the report 
was written. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page C-2 Unsuitability Analysis - Iron Point Tract September 1999 

In compiling this analysis and report, the unsuitability criteria published in 43 CFR 3461 were 
used. The unsuitability criteria were applied individually to the area being considered. 
Exceptions to certain criteria allow areas to be considered further even though they have been 
determined to be unsuitable. These exceptions to the criteria are noted where applied. 

ANALYSIS OF THE UNSUITABILITY CRITERIA 

Exemptions to the criteria are not described as no exemptions were determined to apply. 
Exceptions to the criteria are described only if they apply. 

Criterion 1 

All federal lands included in the following land systems or categories shall be considered 
unsuitable: National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, National System of Trails, 
National Wilderness Preservation System, National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, National 
Recreation Areas, lands acquired with money derived from the Land and Water Conservation 
Fund, National Forests, and federal lands in incorporated cities, towns, and villages. 

Exceptions . (I) A lease may be issued within the boundaries of any National Forest if the 
Secretary finds no significant recreational, timber, economic or other values which may be 
incompatible with the lease; and (A) surface operations and impacts are incident to an 
underground coal mine, or (B) where the Secretary of Agriculture determines, with respect to 
lands which do not have significant forest cover within those National Forests west of the 
Meridian, that surface mining may be in compliance with the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act 
of 1960, the Federal Coal Leasing Amendments Act of 1976 and the Surface Mining Control 
and Reclamation Act of 1977. 

Analysis 

The lands within Sections 33 and 34 T13S, R91 W, 6 th PM were proclaimed National Forest on 
June 6, 1905 and are within the Gunnison National Forest. Conditions under which coal leasing 
may occur are listed in the Amended Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP), Grand 
Mesa. Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests - General Direction on pages HI-62 
through III-70 and in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests Oil and 
Gas Leasing Environmental Impact Statement . 

The stipulations set forth in these documents will protect specific resources which are found on 
the lease, and thereby satisfy the condition that the "Secretary finds no significant recreational, 
timber, economic or other values which may be incompatible with the lease." In addition, 
surface operations and impacts are incident to an underground coal mine. 

Criterion 2 

Federal lands that are within rights-of-way or easements or within surface leases for residential, 
commercial, industrial, or other public purposes, on federally-owned surface shall be 
considered unsuitable. 

Exceptions . A lease may be issued and mining operations approved, in such areas if the 
surface management agency determines that (i) all or certain types of coal development (e.g., 
underground mining) will not interfere with the purpose of the right-of-way or easement, or (ii) 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix C Page C-3 

the right-of-way or easement was granted for mining purposes, or (iii) the right-of-way or 
easement was issued for a purpose for which it is not being used, or (iv) the parties involved in 
the right-of-way or easement agree, in writing, to leasing, or (v) it is impractical to exclude such 
areas due to the location of coal and method of mining and such areas or uses can be 
protected through appropriate stipulations. 

Analysis 

There are two rights-of-way located on the application lands managed by the BLM, a power line 
(COC-22713) and Delta County Road 44.05 Drive (COC-42671, Hubbard Creek Road), totaling 
24 acres. Lands involved in these rights-of-way are suitable for coal leasing after applying the 
exceptions to the criteria. The road R/W is protected by Criterion No. 3 (see below); the 
powerline will be protected by exception (v) above. The powerline right-of-way is 125 feet in 
width and includes access roads. In order to protect the powerline, the following lease 
stipulation will be required: 

State-of-the-art mining techniques (pillar and panel widths, rate of coal 
development and extraction, mine method, determining angle of draw, etc.) shall 
be used to control subsidence. No mining related surface disturbances will occur 
within 1 00 feet of the outside line of the powerline right-of-way without a written 
finding from the Authorized Officer and consultation with the right-of-way holder. 
These techniques would provide for maximum coal removal while insuring that 
sufficient coal is left in place to prevent subsidence. 

There is a General Land Office Order, 6/1/1910, which classifies the lands within the application 
area for coal. The lands are also within the Paonia-Somerset Known Recoverable Resource 
Area, COC-20093. No other easements or surface leases for residential, commercial, 
industrial, or other public purposes are determined to exist within the review area. 

Criterion 3 

Federal lands affected by section 522(e)(4) and (5) of the Surface Mining Control and 
Reclamation Act of 1977 shall be considered unsuitable. This includes lands within 100 feet of 
the outside line of the right-of-way of a public road, or within 100 feet of a cemetery, or within 
300 feet of any public building, school, church, community or institutional building or public park, 
or within 300 feet of an occupied dwelling. 

Exceptions . A lease may be issued for lands (i) used as mine access roads or haulage roads 
that join the right-of-way for a public road, (ii) for which the Office of Surface Mining 
Reclamation and Enforcement has issued a permit to have public roads relocated, (iii) if, after 
public notice and opportunity for public hearing in the locality, a written finding is made by the 
Authorized Officer that the interests of the public and the landowners affected by mining within 
100 feet of a public road will be protected, or (iv) for which owners of occupied dwellings have 
given written permission to mine within 300 feet of their buildings. 

Analysis 

Approximately 900 feet (1 .2 acres) public road, Delta County Road 44.05 Drive, is located on 
the proposed lease tract. No occupied dwellings, public buildings, schools, churches, 
community, or institutional buildings exist within this area. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page C-4 Unsuitability Analysis - Iron Point Tract September 1999 

All of the lands affected by this criterion are suitable for coal leasing with application of the 
exceptions. A lease stipulation will be required to protect the public road from surface 
disturbance and subsidence. Hubbard Creek County Road will be protected from surface 
disturbance and subsidence due to mining by the following stipulation: 

No mining related disturbances will occur within 100 feet of the 
outside line of the right-of-way of Hubbard Creek County Road 
(44.05 Drive). The angle of draw used to protect the road from 
subsidence will be dictated by the approved CDMG Mining and 
Reclamation Plan, (the estimated angle of draw is conservatively 
estimated to be 25 degrees). However, mining related 
disturbances may occur if, after public notice and the opportunity 
for public hearing in the locality, a written finding is made by the 
Authorized Officer that the interests of the public and the 
landowners affected by mining within 1 00 feet of a public road will 
be protected. 

Criterion 4 

Federal lands designated as wilderness study areas shall be considered unsuitable while under 
review by the Administration and Congress for possible wilderness designation. For any federal 
land which is to be leased or mined prior to completion of the wilderness inventory by the 
surface management agency, the environmental assessment or impact statement on the lease 
sale or mine plan shall consider whether the land possesses the characteristics of a wilderness 
study area. If the finding is affirmative, the land shall be considered unsuitable, unless issuance 
of noncompetitive coal leases and mining on leases is authorized under the Wilderness Act and 
the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1 976. 

Analysis 

No lands within the review area are designated Wilderness Study Areas. 

Criterion 5 

Scenic federal lands designated by visual resource management analysis as Class I (an area of 
outstanding scenic quality or high visual sensitivity) but not currently on the National Register of 
Natural Landmarks shall be considered unsuitable. A lease may be issued if the surface 
management agency determines that surface coal mining operations will not significantly 
diminish or adversely affect the scenic quality of the designated area. 

Analysis 

No lands within the review area are designated as visual resource management Class I areas. 

Criterion 6 

Federal lands under permit by the surface management agency, and being used for scientific 
studies involving food or fiber production, natural resources, or technology demonstrations and 
experiments shall be considered unsuitable for the duration of the study, demonstration, or 
experiment except where mining could be conducted in such a way as to enhance or not 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix C Page C-5 

jeopardize the purposes of the study, as determined by the surface management agency, or 
where the principal scientific use or agency give written concurrence to ail or certain methods of 
mining. 

Analysis 

No lands within the review area are under permit for scientific study. 

Criterion 7 

All publicly-owned places on federal lands which are included in the National Register of 
Historic Places shall be considered unsuitable. This shall include any areas that the surface 
management agency determines, after consultation with the Advisory Council on Historic 
Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Officer, are necessary to protect the inherent 
values of the property that made it eligible for listing in the National Register. 

Analysis 

No publicly-owned places on federal or fee lands within the review area are included in the 
National Register of Historic Places. 

Criterion 8 

Federal lands designated as natural areas or as National Natural Landmarks shall be 
considered unsuitable. 

Analysis 

No lands within the review area are designated as natural areas or as National Natural 
Landmarks. 

Criterion 9 

Federally designated critical habitat for listed threatened or endangered plant and animal 
species, and habitat proposed to be designated as critical for listed threatened or endangered 
plant and animal species or species proposed for listing, and habitat for federal threatened or 
endangered species which is determined by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the surface 
management agency to be of essential value and where the presence of threatened or 
endangered species has been scientifically documented, shall be considered unsuitable. 

Exceptions . A lease may be issued and mining operations approved if, after consultation with 
the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service determines that the proposed 
activity is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the listed species and/or its critical 
habitat. 

Analysis 

No lands within the review area are designated as critical habitat, proposed to be designated as 
critical habitat, or determined to be essential habitat for any federally listed threatened or 
endangered plant or animal species, or species proposed for listing ( Federal Register , various 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page C-6 Unsuitability Analysis - Iron Point Tract September 1999 

dates). However, critical habitat for the Colorado squawfish, Razorback sucker, Humpback 
chub, and Bonytail chub does exist off-site in the Colorado River drainage which potentially 
could be affected by water depletion from this action ( Federal Reoister/ Vol. 59, No. 54). The 
Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that any water depletion in the upper Colorado River 
Basin "may effect" these endangered fish species and their critical habitat. At this time no 
specific projections of water depletions that may result from development of the review area are 
available. At the post-leasing stage, prior to the approval of the mine plan, if it is determined 
that development of the lease would result in water depletions in the upper Colorado River 
Basin, the permitting agency must enter into consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service to 
determine the appropriate conservation measures to offset the effect to these listed fish. 

Potential habitat for southwest willow flycatchers is known to be present in Hubbard Creek, just 
off the proposed lease tract. Within the study area, potentially suitable habitat for this species 
may exist in the riparian zones of Terror Creek and Hubbard Creek. No data currently indicates 
that the species is present in the review area or that there is any essential habitat on the review 
area. Prior to any disturbance within a riparian zone, the lessee must conduct inventories to 
determine if suitable habitat is present for this species, and if so, must conduct inventories for 
the species prior to authorization being granted for the disturbance. If the species is present, 
consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service will determine the appropriate conservation 
measures, which may include avoidance of suitable habitat, a seasonal constraint within 150 
feet of the occupied habitat, or the improvement of an off-site habitat area to benefit southwest 
willow flycatchers. 

The following list of federally listed endangered, threatened, and candidate species are known 
to occur on the review area and/or in the region of potential effect of this action and were 
considered under this criterion (species list provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998): 

Black-footed ferret Mustela nigripes END 

Crane, whooping Grus americana END 

Mexican spotted owl Strix occidentalis THR 

Bald eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus THR 

Southwest willow flycatcher Empidonax traillii traillii END 

Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus anatum END 

Bonytail chub Gila elegans END 

Colorado squawfish Ptychocheilus lucius END 

Humpback chub Bila cypha END 

Razorback sucker Xyrauchen texanus END 

Uinta basin hookless cactus Sclerocactus glaucus THR 

Clay loving wild buchwheat Erigonum pelinophilum END 

Criterion 10 

Federal lands containing habitat determined to be critical or essential for plant or animal 
species listed by a state pursuant to state law as endangered or threatened shall be considered 
unsuitable. 

Exceptions . A lease may be issued and mining operations approved if, after consultation with 
the state, the surface management agency determines that the species will not be adversely 
affected by all or certain stipulated methods of coal mining. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix C Page C-7 

Analysis 

No lands within the review area, or off-site that would be affected by this action, have been 
determined by the state of Colorado as critical or essential habitat for any state listed 
endangered or threatened animal species. No plant species are listed by the state of Colorado 
as threatened or endangered. In addition to the species appearing on the federal list above, the 
river otter (Lutra conadensis) , boreal toad {Bufo boreas boreas), and Canada lynx (Lynx 
canadensis), listed endangered by the state of Colorado, were considered as potentially 
occurring on the review area or in the region of potential effect and were considered under this 
criterion. Typical lynx habitat is over 9,000 feet in elevation, which is higher than the review 
area. Current data indicates that the lynx may be confined to isolated locations in the central 
part of the state. It is unlikely that the species would occur on the review area. River otters are 
known to occur in the Gunnison Gorge, and they have been reported in the North Fork of the 
Gunnison River. No data indicates that the species has been found in the streams on the 
review area. Grand Mesa is historic habitat for the boreal toad, which requires marsh, pond, 
bog, or wet meadow habitat in spruce-fir forests or alpine meadows, at elevations above 8,000 
feet, for breeding (Boreal Toad Recovery Plan . 1994). There is no data to indicate that the 
review area has these habitat types at the required elevation. 

Criterion 11 

A bald or golden eagle nest site on federal lands that is determined to be active, and an 
appropriate buffer zone of land around the nest site shall be considered unsuitable. 
Consideration of availability of habitat for prey species and of terrain shall be included in the 
determination of buffer zones. Buffer zones shall be determined in consultation with the Fish 
and Wildlife Service. 

Exceptions . A lease may be issued if (1) it can be conditioned in such a way, either in manner 
or period of operation, that eagles will not be disturbed during the breeding season, or (2) the 
surface management agency, with the concurrence of the Fish and Wildlife Service, determines 
that the golden eagle nest(s) will be moved, or (3) buffer zones may be decreased if the surface 
management agency determines that the active eagle nests will not be adversely affected. 

Analysis 

Presently, no bald or golden eagle nest sites exist on federal lands within the review area. 
Three known golden eagle nests are located off the northeast corner of the review area; one 
nest location is within one-half mile of the eastern boundary of the review area in Section 35. A 
buffer zone of one-quarter mile radius around bald and golden eagle nest sites was suggested 
as adequate protection in the Uinta-Southwestern Utah Coal Region EIS . Present guidelines 
used by the Fish and Wildlife Service are: 

Bald Eagle 

1 . Year round closure to surface occupancy (beyond that which historically occurred in the 
area) within one-quarter mile radius of nests, 

2. No activity from November 1 5 through July 30 within one-half mile radius of active bald 
eagle nests. Total potential area of protection is one-half mile radius of the nest. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



Page C-8 Unsuitability Analysis - Iron Point Tract September 1999 

Golden Eagle 



1. 



No surface occupancy (beyond that which historically occurred in the area) within one- 
quarter mile radius of the nest site and associated alternate nests, 



2. Seasonal restrictions to human encroachment within one-half mile of the nest and any 
alternate nests from February 1 through July 15 

Underground coal mining and nesting bald or golden eagles are compatible on the same tract 
of iand unless surface facilities or surface disturbances cause nest-site abandonment. With 
respect to bald or golden eagle nests which may be established on the review area during the 
life of the project, the following special stipulations shall apply: 

1 . No new permanent surface facilities or disturbances except subsidence shall be located 
within a one-quarter mile radius buffer zone around each bald or golden eagle nest site. 

2. No surface activities will be allowed within a one-half mile radius buffer zone around 
each active eagle nest site from November 15 to July 30 for bald eagles and February 1 
to July 1 5 for golden eagles. 

3. Any proposed surface facilities, disturbances or activities (as noted above) in or 
adjacent to these buffer zones will require approval from the surface management 
agency on a site-specific basis, alter consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Criterion 12 

Bald and golden eagle roost and concentration areas on federal lands used during migration 
and wintering shall be considered unsuitable. 

Analysis 

No bald or golden eagle roost or concentration areas are known to exist on federal lands within 
the review area. Bald eagle use in this area, both along the North Fork of the Gunnison River 
above Paonia and the uplands has been determined as light by the BLM and Forest Service. 
Bald eagles use the review area sporadically for foraging. 

With respect to bald or golden eagle roost sites or concentration areas which may be 
established on the review area during the life of the project, the following special stipulation 
shall be applied: 



1. 



No surface activity except subsidence shall occur within one-quarter mile radius of 
winter roosts between November 15 and March 15, development may be permitted at 
other periods. If periodic visits are required within the buffer zone after development, 
activity should be restricted to the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. from November 15 
through March 15. 



North Fork Coal ♦ Draft Environmental Impact Statement 



September 1999 Appendix C Page C-9 

Criterion 13 

Federal lands containing a falcon (excluding kestrel) cliff nesting site with an active nest and 
buffer zone of federal land around the nest site shall be considered unsuitable. Consideration 
of availability of habitat for prey species and of terrain shall be included in the determination of 
buffer zones. Buffer zones shall be determined in consultation with the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. 

Exception . A lease may be issued where the surface management agency, after consultation 
with the Fish and Wildlife Service, determines that all or certain stipulated methods of coal 
mining will not adversely affect the falcon habitat during the periods when such habitat is used 
by the falcons. 

Analysis 

No falcon cliff nesting sites are known to exist on federal lands within the review area. 
Available cliff sites for nesting within the review area are short, and atypical of the cliff sites 
being selected by peregrine and prairie falcons for nesting elsewhere in the local areas. 

Criterion 14 

Federal lands which are high priority habitat for migratory bird species of high federal interest 
on a regional or national basis, as determined jointly by the surface management agency and 
the Fish and Wildlife Service, shall be considered unsuitable. 

Exception . A lease may be issued where the surface management agency, after consultation 
with the Fish and Wildlife Service, determines that all or certain stipulated methods of coal 
mining will not adversely affect the migratory bird habitant during the periods when such habitat 
is used by the s